The role of cyclothymia in atypical depression: toward a data-based reconceptualization of the borderline–bipolar II connection

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56100, Pisa, Italy.
Journal of Affective Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.71). 02/2003; 73(1-2):87-98. DOI: 10.1016/S0165-0327(02)00329-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent data, including our own, indicate significant overlap between atypical depression and bipolar II. Furthermore, the affective fluctuations of patients with these disorders are difficult to separate, on clinical grounds, from cyclothymic temperamental and borderline personality disorders. The present analyses are part of an ongoing Pisa-San Diego investigation to examine whether interpersonal sensitivity, mood reactivity and cyclothymic mood swings constitute a common diathesis underlying the atypical depression-bipolar II-borderline personality constructs.
We examined in a semi-structured format 107 consecutive patients who met criteria for major depressive episode with DSM-IV atypical features. Patients were further evaluated on the basis of the Atypical Depression Diagnostic Scale (ADDS), the Hopkins Symptoms Check-list (HSCL-90), and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), coupled with its modified form for reverse vegetative features as well as Axis I and SCID-II evaluated Axis II comorbidity, and cyclothymic dispositions ('APA Review', American Psychiatric Press, Washington DC, 1992).
Seventy-eight percent of atypical depressives met criteria for bipolar spectrum-principally bipolar II-disorder. Forty-five patients who met the criteria for cyclothymic temperament, compared with the 62 who did not, were indistinguishable on demographic, familial and clinical features, but were significantly higher in lifetime comorbidity for panic disorder with agoraphobia, alcohol abuse, bulimia nervosa, as well as borderline and dependent personality disorders. Cyclothymic atypical depressives also scored higher on the ADDS items of maximum reactivity of mood, interpersonal sensitivity, functional impairment, avoidance of relationships, other rejection avoidance, and on the interpersonal sensitivity, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation and psychoticism of the HSCL-90 factors. The total number of cyclothymic traits was significantly correlated with 'maximum' reactivity of mood and interpersonal sensitivity. A significant correlation was also found between interpersonal sensitivity and 'usual' and 'maximum' reactivity of mood.
Correlational study.
Mood lability and interpersonal sensitivity traits appear to be related by a cyclothymic temperamental diathesis which, in turn, appears to underlie the complex pattern of anxiety, mood and impulsive disorders which atypical depressive, bipolar II and borderline patients display clinically. We submit that conceptualizing these constructs as being related will make patients in this realm more accessible to pharmacological and psychological interventions geared to their common temperamental attributes. More generally, we submit that the construct of borderline personality disorder is better covered by more conventional diagnostic entities.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Little is known regarding correlates of borderline personality-spectrum symptoms (BPSS) among adolescents with bipolar disorder (BP). Methods Participants were 90 adolescents, 13–19 years of age, who fulfilled DSM-IV-TR criteria for BP using semi-structured diagnostic interviews. BPSS status was ascertained using the Life Problems Inventory which assessed identity confusion, interpersonal problems, impulsivity, and emotional lability. Analyses compared adolescents with “high” versus “low” BPSS based on a median split. Results Participants with high, relative to low, BPSS were younger, and had greater current and past depressive episode severity, greater current hypo/manic episode severity, younger age of depression onset, and reduced global functioning. High BPSS participants were more likely to have BP-II, and had higher rates of social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, homicidal ideation, assault of others, non-suicidal self-injury, suicidal ideation, and physical abuse. Despite greater illness burden, high BPSS participants reported lower rates of lithium use. The most robust independent predictors of high BPSS, identified in multivariate analyses, included lifetime social phobia, non-suicidal self-injury, reduced global functioning, and conduct and/or oppositional defiant disorder. Limitations The study design is cross-sectional and cannot determine causality. Conclusions High BPSS were associated with greater mood symptom burden and functional impairment. Presence of high BPSS among BP adolescents may suggest the need to modify clinical monitoring and treatment practices. Future prospective studies are needed to examine the direction of observed associations, the effect of treatment on BPSS, and the effect of BPSS as a moderator or predictor of treatment response.
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known regarding correlates of borderline personality-spectrum symptoms (BPSS) among adolescents with bipolar disorder (BP).
    Journal of Affective Disorders 09/2014; 170C:39-45. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.08.046 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bipolar II disorder (BP II) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) share common features and can be difficult to differentiate, contributing to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Research contrasting phenomenological features of both conditions is limited. The current study sought to identify differences in emotion regulation strategies in BP II and BPD in addition to examining relationships with perceived parental style. Participants were recruited from a variety of outpatient and community settings. Eligible participants required a clinical diagnosis of BP II or BPD, subsequently confirmed via structured diagnostic interviews assessing DSM-IV criteria. Participants completed a series of self-reported questionnaires assessing emotion regulation strategies and perceived parental style. The sample comprised 48 (n=24 BP II and n=24 BPD) age and gender-matched participants. Those with BPD were significantly more likely to use maladaptive emotion regulation strategies, less likely to use adaptive emotion regulation strategies, and scored significantly higher on the majority of (perceived) dysfunctional parenting sub-scales than participants with BP II. Dysfunctional parenting experiences were related to maladaptive emotion regulation strategies in participants with BP II and BPD, however differential associations were observed across groups. Relatively small sample sizes; lack of a healthy control comparator group; lack of statistical control for differing sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, medication and psychological treatments; no assessment of state or trait anxiety; over-representation of females in both groups limiting generalisability of results; and reliance on self-report measures. Differences in emotion regulation strategies and perceived parental style provide some support for the validity of distinguishing BP II and BPD. Development of intervention strategies targeting the differing forms of emotion regulatory pathology in these groups may be warranted.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 03/2014; 157:52-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.01.001 · 3.71 Impact Factor