New coping strategies may help those with bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder has been clinically recognized for years, but the mechanisms that underly the condition and the ways the disorder expresses itself have remained poorly understood. Now, researchers say they have identified a unique way that bipolar disorder expresses itself that can improve treatment and therapy options for those with the disorder.
As researchers from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University explain in the Journal of Affective Disorders, people living with bipolar disorder experience increased emotionality which affects their coping abilities and goal pursuit during the recovery process.
The findings lead the team to believe that “empowering clients by using appropriate coping is crucial along the course of the personal recovery.”
“This is the first study to test the coping flexibility model empirically among people with [bipolar disorder],” wrote lead researcher Sunny H.W. Chan. “Finding ways to cope with goal-striving life events should shed light on managing elevated mood states.”
Over the course of a year-long longitudinal follow up study, the team examined the stability in coping flexibility using an experimental system called the Behavioral Approach System among 83 people diagnosed with bipolar disorder and 89 control participants.
The study confirmed what the researchers had hypothesized: people with bipolar disorder experience amplified emotionality and fluctuations in different components of coping flexibility and mood states.
Coping flexibility is a person’s ability to stop using an ineffective coping strategy and find alternative or more effective coping strategies.
The findings also indicated that it may be possible for those with bipolar disorder to change their mood states by changing their perceived controllability of life events and implementing coping strategies for dealing with these events.
If confirmed, the study could provide better direction to bipolar disorder treatment plans and provide a better understanding of exactly how bipolar disorder develops and functions.