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December 13, 2007

Bipolar Disorder Improves With Routine Sleep Patterns?

Researchers that sleep is connected to bipolar disorder. That is, past research has shown that bipolar patients have difficulty with sleep and often suffer from sleep-related problems. Now new research is showing that routine sleep schedules can actually be beneficial to the outcomes of bipolar disorder.

A new study which appears in this month's issue of the journal, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ANCP), examined two groups of adult bipolar patients receiving different treatment therapies and found that the group of patients who participated in interpersonal and rhythm therapies--these therapies involved the patients monitoring their daily routines--had longer periods without mania and depression. Researchers have believed for some time that bipolar disorder is greatly affected by the circadian rhythm or the body's internal clock, and these new findings only further support this idea.

It seems that sufferers of bipolar disorder tend to have more sensitive circadian systems than do others, and as a result, a change in routine or sleep schedule can throw the internal clocks of bipolar sufferers off (more so than with the healthy population), and result in more frequent manic and depressive episodes for bipolar patients.

Ellen Frank, Ph.D., who conducted the new study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine had this to say about the findings:

Having already found that disruption in daily routines can make individuals with bipolar disorder vulnerable to new episodes of illness, we have now learned that working with patients to achieve and maintain regular social rhythms -- including regular sleep patterns and adequate physical activity -- will help to protect them against episodes of mania or depression, we have now learned that working with patients to achieve and maintain regular social rhythms -- including regular sleep patterns and adequate physical activity -- will help to protect them against episodes of mania or depression...

Full Article:Sleep helps in bipolar disorder treatment (United Press International)

Related Stories:
Dark Therapy: A Possible Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Role of Serotonin in Modulating Circadian Rhythm

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