Does the Dysregulation of Social Rhythms Syndrome (DYMERS) be Considered an Essential Component of Panic Disorders?

Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 19 Apr 2024 EDITORIAL DOI: 10.2174/0117450179293272240328053722


This editorial explores the role of hyperactivity and social rhythm dysregulation in bipolar disorder (BD) and related syndromes. Social Rhythm Dysregulation Syndrome (DYMERS) is proposed as a common vulnerability across various disorders, including panic disorder (PD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A study conducted on a sample of elderly individuals participating in an active aging study investigated whether individuals with PD exhibit higher biological rhythm dysregulation compared to those without PD.
The sample, consisting of 119 individuals, revealed that those with a lifetime PD diagnosis scored significantly higher on the dysregulation of biological rhythms scale compared to those without panic disorder. A higher prevalence of depressive episodes was found in individuals with PD at the time of the interview. Notably, a small sample of elderly individuals with panic disorder, voluntarily selected for a physical exercise trial, showed a significantly higher level of dysregulation of social rhythms compared to those without panic disorder.
This study opens a debate on the accuracy of paper and pencil screening tests for bipolar disorders, especially regarding false positives in individuals with panic disorder. Our hypothesis is that DYMERS could be a shared vulnerability substrate for various disorders, serving as a basis for bipolar onset in the presence of a hyperactivity profile, even with genetic features. The data collected from older adults suggest that social rhythm dysregulation is a typical feature of PD, regardless of the coexistence of a depressive episode.
While the study has limitations due to a small sample size, the findings warrant careful analysis and suggest the need for larger-scale replication studies. If confirmed, the dysregulation of rhythms and its association with depressive disorders highlight a significant area of vulnerability for serious psychopathological disorders, emphasizing the importance of extending research to younger populations.

Keywords: Panic disorders, Bipolar disorder, Social rhythms, New syndrome depressive episode, Mood disorder, DYMERS.
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