Scans may aid mental health project
Brain scans on people with personality disorders could shed new light on improving their lives, experts in Yorkshire say.
are using the scans to examine how the emotional reactions of people
differ before and after taking part in programmes designed to help them
deal with the disorders.
Mental health specialists from The
Retreat in York want to identify if there are changes to people's brain
function following therapy programmes which help them become less
overwhelmed by their feelings.
In collaboration with staff at
York University's NeuroImaging Centre, they are showing patients on The
Retreat's Acorn programme, which gives people with complex mental health
problems a range of psychological therapies, pictures of an emotionally
positive, neutral or mildly distressing nature.
Brain scans before and after they take part in the programme are examined to find any differences.
McFetridge, head of psychology at The Retreat, said: "We already know
that people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder experience
intense reactions to negative emotional stimuli but their response to
positive emotional stimuli has yet to be studied.
"People in therapy have told us that they can feel equally overwhelmed and out of control with positive emotions such as love.
"It appears that certain parts of the brain are 'overactive' when cued by the world and people around them.
Acorn therapy programme aims to help people to learn ways of 'soothing'
these brain areas and not acting on this heightened emotion.
in regulating emotion is a central aspect of borderline personality
disorder but previous research has not made clear precisely what these
difficulties are, perhaps because it has only examined the experience of