Bipolar and Mental Illnesses are written about here. Written by a bipolar person themselves.

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy

Being bipolar, I am constantly reading about the disorder and different therapeutic ways to work through it. I am a huge believer of cognitive therapy and always enjoyed talking with my psychologists, back when I needed therapy. Today I am in a much better head space, and still like to read up on therapies for bipolar disorder. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy seems like a great therapy to treat the disorder. I wish I had known about it years ago, it might have helped expedite my progress. But no therapy can help the way time does. The following article is all about IPSRT. I hope you learn something from it that you can pass on to friends, family, co-workers and others. 


Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy is a specific type of psychotherapy developed to help people with bipolar disorder. Its focus is on helping people identify and maintain the regular routines of everyday life — including sleep patterns — and solving interpersonal issues and problems that may arise that directly impact a person’s routines.”


That’s right! Having Bipolar Disorder is hard on your circadian rhythm, meaning sleep signals are sent out to your brain at wrong times during the day, which makes people with BD need naps. Having a circadian rhythm that does not ideally work when it should makes those with sleep problems even more out of synch. 


This is a normal circadian rhythm cycle:


“Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) is founded upon the belief that disruptions of our circadian rhythms and sleep deprivation may provoke or exacerbate the symptoms commonly associated with bipolar disorder. Its approach to treatment uses methods both from interpersonal psychotherapy, as well as cognitive-behavioral techniques to help people maintain their routines. In IPSRT, the therapist works with the client to better understand the importance of circadian rhythms and routines in our life, including eating, sleeping, and other daily activities. Clients are taught to extensively track their moods everyday. Once routines are identified, IPSRT therapy seeks to help the individual keep the routines consistent and address those problems that arise that might upset the routines. This often involves a focus on building better and healthier interpersonal relationships and skills.”


This picture depicts the sun going through our eyelids sending us “wake” signals. For those of us with BD, these signals get sent more than usual and during the night. Just as confusing, “sleep” signals are also sent during the daytime, causing drowsiness, needs to rest. 



“When Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy is combined with psychiatric medications, research has shown that people can achieve gains in their targeted lifestyle routines, reduce both manic and depressive symptoms, and increase days of maintaining a consistent, regular mood. Like most psychotherapies, not everyone will respond to a course of IPSRT, but for those people who do respond, most have a reduction in the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder.”

Trazodone:  Sleeping Aide 


I have dealt with insomnia my entire life, since about 16. Today, I take Trazodone to go to sleep. It has a sedating effect to really put me to sleep and stay that way. It allows me to sleep for at least 8 hrs, and I awake alert and not groggy. Also, it keeps me asleep the entire night. No sleep pill has ever helped me so much. I have tried almost every sleeping pill on the market, including Ambien and Lunesta, which should only be taken if you do NOT consume alcohol. It can totally make you sleep walk and do things you might regret in the morning. My husband has worked in a pharmacy for over 16 years, and I cannot believe the crazy stories that he tells me about what customers do on Ambien. So to wrap up, if you have insomnia, and really want relief, ask your doctor if you can try trazodone. I’m not selling this drug at all, it has just made such a big impact on my life. Getting sleep versus no sleep is the much better route. 


“Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy is practiced in both inpatient and outpatient settings, but is most often used as a treatment for people who have bipolar disorder in an outpatient, office-based setting. IPSRT is virtually always prescribed in conjunction with psychiatric medications used to treat bipolar disorder, such as lithium or an atypical antipsychotic.”



Source: Interpersonal & Social Rhythm Therapy

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