What Are the Causes of Bipolar Cognitive Problems?

Brain Development

Some scientists believe that the brains of people with bipolar disorder are genetically different from the average brain, or develop differently.

Effects of the Illness

The mood swings or psychosis that occur in bipolar disorder can change the way the brain works.


All medications for bipolar disorder affect thinking as a rule. Talk to your psychiatrist if you feel the cognitive effects of a certain medication are too great.

Treat Symptoms Promptly

Even mild bipolar symptoms can affect your cognitive abilities. Treat symptoms promptly and work hard to prevent relapses.

Medical Solutions

Recognize your limitations and take steps to adapt. Your physician might want to prescribe drugs for memory loss or other medications to treat your cognitive symptoms.

Other Suggestions

Tell others of any attention or memory problems you might have. Use resources for people with ADD or memory loss to find ways to cope with cognitive changes. It's not clear whether the cognitive problems that come with bipolar disorder arise from the way the brain is organized or whether they come after the illness begins. Cognitive problems can make it much harder for a person with bipolar disorder to function.