In this article, I provide my bi-weekly research summary on a topic I think may help others in some way. This week I focused on depression, borderline personality, and different types of emotional regulation. I read the research so you don't have to 😌
Emotion regulation is the process of managing our emotional responses to events and situations. It is a complex process that involves a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological mechanisms. Emotion regulation can be adaptive or maladaptive. Adaptive emotion regulation helps us to cope with stress and to maintain emotional balance. Maladaptive emotion regulation can lead to problems such as anxiety, depression, and aggression.
Today I'm going to summarize for you the following article:
Title: Daily Emotion Regulation in Major Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder
Author/s: Ulrike Zetsche, Paul-Christian Bürkner, Julian Bohländer, Babette Renneberg, Stefan Roepke, and Lars Schulze
Publication and Year: Clinical Psychological Science, 2023
This article is for anyone who has a Major Depressive Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis, depressive or borderline-like traits, or that cares for these individuals in some capacity. If you find this information helpful, please share this article with your community.
Emotional disturbances occur in many mental health disorders and present differently in each one. Major depressive disorder (MDD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are two mental disorders that are characterized by problems with emotion regulation. People with MDD often experience intense and prolonged negative emotions, such as sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. People with BPD also experience intense emotions, but their emotions are often more unstable and unpredictable. They may also have difficulty regulating their anger and impulsive behaviors.
Effective emotional regulation strategies can help with these symptoms. Here are four:
Two potentially ineffective emotional regulation strategies?
Problems may arise when we start to use ineffective tools, underuse effective ones, and/or not use the effective ones in a helpful way. Let's learn more about emotional regulation in MDD and BPD so we can try and prevent these problems!
The study by Zetsche et al. examined daily emotion regulation in people with MDD and BPD. The participants included 52 females with BPD, 55 females with current MDD, and 55 healthy females. The study took place in Berlin, Germany, and between January 2017 and June 2019.
The study participants used electronic diaries (smartphones with an app downloaded on them) for two weeks and recorded their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors multiple times a day.
In this study, people with BPD and MDD used one seemingly effective emotion regulation strategy more often than healthy individuals: distraction. A common factor in each of the most used strategies for the BPD and MDD groups (distraction, suppression, rumination) is an ability to not directly share, accept, or address one's emotions.
When we experience mental health disorders and difficult mental health symptoms,
This study suggests that problems with emotion regulation are a core feature of Major Depressive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. These problems can lead to a variety of other symptoms, such as rumination, impulsive behaviors, and social isolation. Emotion regulation is an important target for treatment in MDD and BPD. Treatments that focus on emotion regulation can help people to manage their emotions more effectively and to improve their overall quality of life.
Here are some of those specific emotion regulation strategies that can be helpful for people with MDD and BPD:
If you are struggling with problems with emotion regulation, there are many resources available to help you. You can talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about treatment options. There are also many self-help books and websites that can provide information and support. You're not alone in this.
Thanks for reading and see you in a couple weeks!
Remember: You're a human first, your unconscious is showing, and I'm so glad you exist.
Written by Dr. Courtney Tracy, LCSW, PsyD
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