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Psychiatry Res. 1999 Apr 19;86(1):1-8.

Relationship between social rhythms and mood in patients with rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

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  • 1Clinical Psychobiology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Disruptions in the sleep-wake cycle frequently characterize affective illness and have led to a number of theories linking sleep-wake and/or circadian rhythm disturbance to affective illness. Recently, researchers have expanded these chronobiological theories to include the role of lifestyle regularity, or daily social rhythms. In this study, the Social Rhythm Metric (SRM) was used to explore the relationship between social rhythms and mood in patients with rapid cycling bipolar disorder and to compare the social rhythms of patients with those of healthy control subjects. Patients' SRM scores and activity level indices were significantly lower than those of control subjects. In addition, the timing of five, mostly morning, activities was phase delayed in patients compared to control subjects. Patients also demonstrated a phase delay in the timing of morning activities during depression compared to hypomania or euthymia. The phase changes in the timing of morning activities are consistent with other data implicating morning zeitgebers in the pathophysiology of rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

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