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Bipolar patients struggle with emotion regulation across several dimensions


 

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Patients with bipolar and a greater number of comorbidities had greater difficulties in emotion regulation in several categories, including poor acceptance and differentiation of emotion, difficulties with inhibiting impulsive actions, and using appropriate regulation strategies to modulate emotions, than did their nonbipolar peers, according to a small-scale investigation published in Psychiatry Research.

Dr. Tamsyn E. Van Rheenen of Swinburne University, Melbourne, and associates used the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) and the General Behaviour Inventory (GBI), a multidimensional measure of difficulties in emotion regulation, to characterize the emotion regulation profile of 50 patients with bipolar disorder, compared with 52 healthy controls. The researchers noticed that impulse control difficulties were a predictor of hypomania propensity, whereas poor access to mood regulation strategies were linked to depression.

“A better understanding of the emotion regulation difficulties experienced by patients with BD can guide the development of new treatment strategies that may ultimately improve outcomes in the disorder. … It is possible that this measure may be efficacious as a diagnostic tool to assess emotion regulation in patients with the disorder,” the authors wrote.

Read the full article in Psychiatry Research here: doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.12.001.

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