When rose-coloured glasses can go too far

July 24th, 2011 - 4:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 24 (IANS) That positive emotions are good for people is known but they can be negative in people having mood swings of extreme happiness and irritation.

Emotions like joy and compassion can have adverse effects on people suffering from bipolar disorder, according to a new study of Yale University. Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people move between periods of a very good mood or depression.

Positive emotions may seemingly sound good and even desirable.

But people suffering from bipolar disorder often take dangerous risks, run up their credit card debt, and wreak havoc in marriages, the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science reported.

“The fact that positive emotion has gone awry is something unique about bipolar disorder, as almost all other emotional disorders are characterized by difficulties in negative emotions,” said June Gruber, who led the study.

Gruber pointed out that positive emotions are problematic for people with bipolar disorder even when they’re not experiencing mania.

More positive emotions may not sound like a bad thing, but there are times when these positive emotions aren’t appropriate.

In more recent work Gruber and her colleagues have found such people feel good even if a romantic partner tells them something sad on their face.

“It’s rose-coloured glasses gone too far,” said Gruber.

Clinical psychologists may also be able to use this research to figure out who with bipolar disorder is likely to relapse; people who have a lot of positive emotions, even at inappropriate times, may provide a window into possible early warning signs, Gruber said.

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