Early Intervention for Adolescents at High Risk for the Development of Bipolar Disorder: Pilot Study of Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)
Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) delays bipolar disorder (BP) recurrence in adults by stabilizing daily routines and sleep/wake cycles. Because adolescence is a key developmental stage for illness onset and altered social and sleep patterns, this period may prove optimal for intervention with adolescents at-risk for BP. We describe a treatment development trial of IPSRT for adolescents at-risk for BP by virtue of a positive family history. Adolescents with a first-degree relative with BP were evaluated for Axis I psychopathology via semistructured interview, and relatives' BP diagnoses were confirmed via record review. IPSRT consisted of 12 sessions delivered over 6 months. Outcome variables including sleep, mood symptoms, and functioning were assessed via clinician interview and self-/parent-report at pretreatment, 3 months, and posttreatment (6 months). Thirteen adolescents attended at least one IPSRT session. Half of the sample denied Axis I psychopathology at intake; the remainder met criteria for a range of internalizing and externalizing disorders. Families reported high satisfaction with IPSRT, yet, on average, participants attended about half of scheduled sessions. Missed sessions were primarily associated with parental BP illness severity. Data indicate significant change in select sleep/circadian patterns (i.e., less weekend sleeping in and oversleeping) with treatment. Preliminary data suggest the IPSRT focus on stabilizing daily rhythms and interpersonal relationships may be beneficial for adolescents at-risk for BP. Controlled trials with longitudinal follow-up are needed to examine whether early intervention for at-risk youth helps prevent or delay disorder.
School of Medicine
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