Understanding Social Rhythm Therapy

June 28, 2024

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Social rhythm therapy helps people keep a steady routine to manage their mood. You can feel better and avoid mood swings by sticking to regular habits.

Read on to learn more about this social rhythm therapy for bipolar and other conditions. You can also find out how to get effective mental health treatment.

What Is Social Rhythm Therapy?

Social rhythm therapy, also known as IPSRT (interpersonal and social rhythm therapy), helps treat bipolar disorder and other mood disorders by keeping daily routines steady. This therapy aims to prevent sleep problems and unstable moods caused by changes in your daily habits.

IPSRT can help reduce stress from relationship conflicts and major life events like marriage, divorce, getting a new job, or having a child. By keeping a regular schedule, you can lower the chances of experiencing hypomania or mania.

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Social rhythm therapy can be done in different ways: one-on-one with a therapist, in groups, or remotely. 

IPSRT has three main stages:

Stage 1

In this stage, the healthcare provider learns about your mood, past episodes, and changes in behavior and relationships. They identify an interpersonal problem to focus on. This takes several sessions, often meeting multiple times a week.

Stage 2

Here, you keep a chart of your daily activities like waking up, eating, and social interactions. You review this chart with your therapist weekly to build a consistent routine. You also work on coping skills for disruptions and improving relationship skills. Sessions start weekly and then taper to bi-weekly or monthly.

Stage 3

In the last stage, the therapy sessions are reduced even more or ended as you become more stable and confident in managing your routines and relationships.

Remember, social rhythm therapy should be used along with medication, not as a replacement. Following your treatment plan, including taking any prescribed medication, is essential for managing bipolar disorder effectively.

Why Would Someone Need Social Rhythm Therapy?

Social rhythm therapy helps people when their habits or symptoms are causing problems in their relationships or self-care. It was first developed to help with mood episodes in bipolar disorder but now also helps with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

IPSRT can be useful for anyone needing to improve their daily routines and relationships to live a more stable life. This therapy helps people manage their schedules and stress, making it easier to handle daily challenges.

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The 4 Key Principles of Social Rhythm Therapy

Social rhythm therapy is based on four important principles to help people manage their moods and daily routines.

1) Stabilizing daily routines

Keeping a regular schedule for activities like waking up, eating, and sleeping helps maintain a stable mood.

2) Improving relationships

Working on communication and relationship skills can reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

3) Managing stressful events

Learning coping strategies for handling stress can prevent mood disruptions and help maintain stability.

4) Medication management

Ensuring that medications are taken correctly and on time supports overall treatment and helps balance moods.

IPSRT helps people lead more stable and fulfilling lives by focusing on these principles.

Who Could Benefit from Social Rhythm Therapy?

Social rhythm therapy can help people with mood disorders like bipolar disorder. It can assist with:

  • Taking medications on time
  • Learning coping skills for stressful events
  • Keeping a regular daily routine

A 2020 study found that people with bipolar disorder who did IPSRT had fewer anxious, depressive, and manic symptoms. They also functioned better overall and responded well to mood stabilizers.

IPSRT might also prevent bipolar disorder in young people with a parent who has it, as shown in a 2018 study.

Originally made for bipolar disorder, IPSRT is now being studied for other conditions like major depression, PTSD, and grief in older adults.

Social Rhythm Therapy | FAQs

What mental health conditions does social rhythm therapy help treat?

Social rhythm therapy helps treat conditions like bipolar disorder and depression. It focuses on creating regular daily routines to improve mood stability.

How do I know if I would benefit from social rhythm therapy?

If you have mood swings, trouble maintaining daily routines, or a mental health condition like bipolar disorder, social rhythm therapy might help. Talking to a mental health professional can also guide you.

How long has social rhythm therapy been around?

Social rhythm therapy has been around since the late 1990s. It was developed to help people with mood disorders manage their symptoms better.

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Get Insurance-Covered, Compassionate Mental Health Help Through Connections

If you or a loved one needs mental health treatment, contact Connections Mental Health in Southern California. We offer inpatient treatment for all mental health disorders.

At Connections, we accept insurance and offer help for mental health issues in small groups of up to six people. This means you’ll get lots of personal attention and support from others facing similar challenges.

Every mental health condition is unique, so our treatment programs are personalized just for you. We offer medications, talk therapies, family therapy, and holistic therapies. Our comprehensive and compassionate care at Connections helps improve your well-being and restore your functioning.

To begin mental health treatment with us, call our friendly admissions team for immediate assistance at 844-759-0999.

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