Research Topic

Affective Disorders in Focus. Cognitive Functioning and Emotional Information Processing.

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Affective disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders worldwide. Patients suffering from affective disorders often experience a high percentage of relapses with a considerable risk of chronic course, thus the disorder strongly affects patients’ daily life function. Despite several research ...

Affective disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders worldwide. Patients suffering from affective disorders often experience a high percentage of relapses with a considerable risk of chronic course, thus the disorder strongly affects patients’ daily life function. Despite several research attempts to identify factors important for treatment and rehabilitation in this patient group, the answers to clinicians are not comprehensive enough.
The literature concerning cognitive functioning in affective disorders shows that patients with affective disorders show several cognitive difficulties in the acute phase of illness. Impaired performance has been documented in cognitive domains such as memory, executive functioning and processing speed. In addition, studies have found that these patient groups process emotional information different from healthy control subjects. In later years, longitudinal studies have found that the difficulties these patients experience in the acute phase of illness often persist despite diagnostic symptom decline and even in remission. These relatively new and important findings suggest that cognitive functioning may be a relatively stable trait characterising patients with affective disorders, possible an important factor influencing course of illness. However, the literature is inconclusive with regard to which cognitive difficulties is the most prominent and further, how these difficulties affects daily life functioning, treatment and illness course. In addition, knowledge concerning the importance and effect of other factors characterizing these patient groups such as clinical history, severity of the illness, medications and biological factors are diverse with few firm conclusions.
More research is needed to give a comprehensive understanding of cognitive function in affective disorders and possible factors influencing this relationship. The aim of the research topic is to encourage researchers to contribute with their newest research, adding valuable angels of approaches to the literature concerning affective disorders.


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