Background: Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness that leads to personal, family, and social difficulties. Evidence has shown that combined pharmacological and psychosocial interventions help optimize the clinical effectiveness of therapy. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) is an effective psychosocial treatment model based on Interpersonal Psychotherapy. Purpose: To examine the effectiveness of IPSRT for patients with bipolar disorder using a systematic review of the literature. Methods: Seven Chinese and English electronic databases were searched: Cochrane Library, EBSCO-CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PsycARTIClES, PubMed, and CEPS (Chinese Electronic Periodical Services). Articles with the keywords “bipolar disorder” and “interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)” published between January 1988 and October 2014 were targeted. Seventy-six articles were initially identified. After excluding duplicates and filtering using the inclusion criteria, 3 randomized clinical trials and 2 single pre-post tests were retained for analysis. Research quality was assessed using the Modified Jadad Scale (MJS) and the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM). Results: Middle-to-high-quality levels of evidence were rated 4−7 (MJS) and 1b−2b (OCEBM). Results showed that IPSRT: was used primarily in individualized formats for a period of time ranging from 6−24 months; consisted of symptom management and of stabilizing social and biological rhythms; and dealt with interpersonal conflicts or loss. Outcome indicators were assessed using symptom assessment and relapse, social rhythm, global assessment of function, medication adherence, and patient satisfication criteria. Evidence-supported IPSRT for patients with bipolar disorder improved clinical symptoms and stabilized social rhythm. Conclusions / Implications for Practice: The studies examined in this literature review support that IPSRT benefits patients with bipolar disorder by stabilizing their mood symptoms and social rhythms. However, the published evidence related IPSRT is rare and limited to patients in the USA. Future studies should use more rigorous research designs and explore the effectiveness of this intervention in different national/ethnic settings.
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