Personality disorders and impulsivity in bipolar patients
A preliminary study

Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki, 3rd Ward of Acute Patient

Although impulsivity can appear in any individual with or without a DSM-IV axis I or II diagnosis, it is more likely to be present in individuals with certain psychiatric disorders, such as personality disorders and mania. Impulsivity may be related to an underlying mechanism of behavioral inhibition.

The aim of the present study is to investigate the possible relationship between impulsivity, manifest hostility, inhibition of aggression and personality disorders in bipolar patients. We assessed 29 bipolar patients (type I) according to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria (55,17% females, 44,83% males). We applied the structured interview for personality disorders axis II according to DSM-III R (SCID-II). We also applied four specific research scales of MMPI which examine: 1) inhibition of aggression, 2) violence, 3) manifest hostility and 4) impulsivity. For the statistical analysis of the data we used the statistical package SPSS.

We did not find any statistically significant difference in the average values of scales of MMPI among patients who suffered from personality disorders and those that did not. We observed that as the number of personality disorders in each bipolar patient increased, impulsivity and hostility were increased as well (statistically significant relation p<0,05). Concerning the relation between each of the parameters of MMPI (impulsivity, hostility, violence) and inhibition of aggression, a statistically negative correlation was found.

In conclusion it seems that impulsivity and hostility as symptoms are more likely to be present in individuals with several psychiatric disorders and that comorbidity between bipolar disorder and personality disorders affects those symptoms.

Key words: Bipolar disorder, personality disorders, impulsivity.