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VIEWPOINT
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 325-332

Social rhythm disruption, psychosocial stressors, and the COVID-19 pandemic: Possible role of interpersonal and social rhythm therapy


1 Department of Psychology, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Debanjan Banerjee
Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_370_20

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Besides public health, life and living themselves have been constantly adapting to rapid changes, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. New norms such as working from home, global lockdown, travel restrictions, lack of “social touch,” increased digitalization, and rising misinformation have disrupted the “social structure” and led to evolving role transitions in daily living. Added to that are the grief and bereavement due to fatalities of the pandemic. Besides the immense impact on psychosocial health and the “funneling” effect on interpersonal relationships, the rapidly changing routines throughout the last few months due to the outbreak have challenged the biological clock, social rhythm, and sleep-wake structure. These vital parameters form the zeitgebers responsible for tuning the body and physiological responses, disrupting which can lead to biopsychosocial dysfunction, and thus increasing the risk of psychiatric disorders. Most of the psychosocial offshoots of the pandemic have been mediated by “daily schedule disruption” of the society and sleep-wake disturbances. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), originally proposed by Frank, has the capacity to target sleep-wake cycles, alertness, energy, and appetite, with evidence-based efficacy in mood disorders. In this article, we discuss this structural disruption caused by COVID-19 in social and interpersonal domains and the possible role of IPSRT in mitigating these effects by stabilizing the circadian rhythms for better emotional health as well as psychosocial well-being.


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