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The Dysregulated Adult - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123850119, 9780123850126

The Dysregulated Adult

1st Edition

Integrated Treatment Approaches

Author: Georgia DeGangi
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123850119
eBook ISBN: 9780123850126
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 17th February 2012
Page Count: 518
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Table of Contents




Chapter 1. Problems of Self-Regulation in Adults

1 The Concept of Self-Regulation and its Development

2 What is a Regulatory Disorder in an Adult?

3 Clinical Significance of Regulatory Problems in Children and Adults

4 Detailed Description of Regulatory Problems in Adults

5 Types of Regulatory Problems in Adults

6 Identifying Problems of Self-Regulation In Adults


Chapter 2. Mood Dysregulation

1 What is an Emotion?

2 Cognitive Appraisal

3 Physiological Aspects of Emotion

4 Expression of Emotion

5 The Socialization of Emotions

6 Modulation of Emotion and Mood States

7 A Developmental Structuralist Approach to Organizing Sensory and Affective Experiences

8 Application of Developmental Structuralist Model

9 Identifying Causes of Mood Dysregulation

10 Treatment Approaches


Further Reading

Chapter 3. Anxiety Disorders

1 Symptoms of Anxiety

2 Neurobiological Mechanisms Underlying Anxiety

3 Types of Anxiety Disorders in Adults

4 Strategies to Alleviate Anxiety


Further Reading

Chapter 4. Dealing with Depression

1 Types of Depression

2 What Causes Depression?

3 Three Portraits of Depression

4 Effective Treatments for Persons Suffering from Depression


Further Reading

Chapter 5. Eating Disorders

1 The Many Facts of Eating

2 What Can Go Wrong?

3 The First Step: Getting Evaluated

4 The Assessment

5 Treatment Intervention


Further Reading

Chapter 6. Sleep Disorders

1 Sleep–Wake Cycles

2 Stages of Sleep

3 Sleep Problems in Adults

4 Impact of Sleep Problems on Everyday Functioning

5 The Sleep Environment, Cultural Beliefs about Sleep, and Family Sleep Patterns

6 Sleep Disorders in Persons with Dysregulation

7 Evaluating Sleep Problems

8 Management of Sleep Problems


Chapter 7. Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

1 What is Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder?

2 Is There a Difference Between Healthy Rituals and Obsessive–Compulsive Behavior?

3 What Causes Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder?

4 How Can Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Be Treated?

5 Common Pitfalls: Things to Avoid


Further Reading

Chapter 8. Attentional Problems in Adults

1 Types of Attentional Problems

2 Processes that Underlie Attention

3 What is Attention? Historical Perspectives

4 Arousal, Alerting, and Sensory Registration

5 Sustained Attention: Attention-Getting and Attention-Holding

6 The Role of Effort in Attentional Tasks

7 Selective Attention: Screening and Selection

8 Motivation, Persistence, and Self-Control

9 Treatment Applications


Further Reading

Chapter 9. The Sensory Defensive Adult

1 What is Sensory Integration?

2 Treatment of Developmental Dyspraxia


Chapter 10. Addressing Attachment and Problems of Intimacy

1 Overall Philosophy of Treatment

2 Attachment Patterns of Persons with Dysregulation

3 Assessment

4 Treatment Approaches


APPENDIX 1. Self-Soothing

APPENDIX 2. Activities for Problems of Touch

APPENDIX 3. Moving for Mood Regulation and Sleep

APPENDIX 4. Improving Your Attention Span

APPENDIX 5. Distractions for Emotional Regulation

APPENDIX 6. Positive Self-Talk

How to Help Change Your Thoughts from Negative to Positive

APPENDIX 7. Mindfulness: Stilling the Mind

APPENDIX 8. Systematic Relaxation: Stilling the Body

APPENDIX 9. Giving and Receiving Validation

How to Give and Receive Validation

APPENDIX 10. Finding Pleasure and Making Connections

APPENDIX 11. Creating Positive Life Experiences

APPENDIX 12. Changing How You Think

APPENDIX 13. Increasing Personal Effectiveness

1. What are You Doing that is Ineffective that You Want to Change?

2. Listen to the People in Your Life to Get Feedback

3. Observe Your Limits

4. Avoid All Categorical Statements

5. Consequences

6. Natural Consequences

7. Doing a Repair

APPENDIX 14. Observing Your Own Limits

APPENDIX 15. Taking Control of Your Own Behavior


Target the Behavior You Want to Change

Action Steps


APPENDIX 16. Keeping Track of Positive Behaviors

APPENDIX 17. Eating Habits and Nutrition

APPENDIX 18. Strategies for Improving Sleep

APPENDIX 19. Installing Structure and Organization in Your Life

APPENDIX 20. Communicating Effectively with Others



People experiencing disorders in regulation are highly sensitive to stimulation from the environment, emotionally reactive, and have difficulty maintaining an organized and calm life style. They are impulsive, easily frustrated, and as a result make decisions that lead to an overwrought state-or who conversely retreat entirely from the world. This disorder is most likely to accompany diagnoses of bipolar or mood disorder, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, eating or sleep disorders, and/or attention deficit disorder. This book instructs therapists how best to treat the dysregulated adult, providing diagnostic checklists, and a chapter by chapter inventory in approaching treatment of dysregulation in a variety of life skills.

Key Features

  • Informs the therapist how dysregulation relates to multiple disorders
  • Includes clinical observations and case studies
  • Gives the therapist tools and techniques for the client to understand his behavior, reframe problems in a positive way, and take responsibility for behavior change
  • Encompasses sensory integration therapy and mind-body techniques for the therapist to guide the client toward self-calming
  • Emphasis on effective relational dynamics between the client and significant persons in his or her life
  • Separate chapters on how to treat dysregulation effects on multiple behaviors, including mood regulation, behavioral control, inattention, sleep, feeding, and social interactions


Practicing clinical psychologists, therapists, and counselors


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2012
17th February 2012
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:


"This book is designed for use by mental health professionals and occupational therapists who work with adults who are highly emotionally reactive, impulsive, irritable, and sensation-seeking. An opening chapter reviews how problems of self-regulation can affect work and relationships. Later chapters are devoted to mood and anxiety disorders, eating and sleep disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD and ADHD, and developmental dyspraxia. Each of these chapters gives background on developmental and neurobiological underpinnings of the problem, presents diagnostic checklists, and discusses treatment approaches from dialectical behavior, mind-body, interpersonal, and sensory integration therapies. The book’s 20 brief appendices offer ideas, activities, visualizations, meditations, and affirmations for various conditions, written for clients."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2012

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Georgia DeGangi

Georgia DeGangi, Ph.D., OTR, FAOTA, is a clinical psychologist and an occupational therapist. She currently works in private practice at ITS (Integrated Therapy Services) for Children and Families, Inc., in Kensington, Maryland, and has worked at the Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Children in Rockville, Maryland, as the Director of Research for the past ten years. She has over 25 years' experience working with infants, children and their families. She has extensive experience with diagnosis and treatment of a range of developmental, sensory, behavioral, and emotional problems. Dr. DeGangi has conducted research for many years to examine the most effective ways of treating children as well as examining how problems in infancy related to self-regulation, sensory processing, attention, and social interactions develop as children grow older. Among her publications are the Test of Sensory Functions in Infants, the Infant/Toddler Symptom Checklist, and the Test of Attention in Infants. Dr. DeGangi is internationally recognized as a leading expert in the assessment and treatment of sensory processing, attention, and interactional problems in infants and children. She was the 1992 recipient of the A. Jean Ayres award from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation and has been distinguished in the roster of fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She serves on the faculty at the Infant/Child Mental Health program of the Washington School of Psychiatry and is associate editor of the Journal of Learning and Developmental Disorders.

Affiliations and Expertise

Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children, Rockville, Maryland, USA