Seasonal affective disorder: an overview and update

Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2005 Jan;2(1):20-6.


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), characterized by fall/winter major depression with spring/summer remission, is a prevalent mental health problem. SAD etiology is not certain, but available models focus on neurotransmitters, hormones, circadian rhythm dysregulation, genetic polymorphisms, and psychological factors. Light therapy is established as the best available treatment for SAD. Alternative and/or supplementary approaches involving medications, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and exercise are currently being developed and evaluated. Given the complexity of the disorder, interdisciplinary research stands to make a significant contribution to advancing our understanding of SAD conceptualization and treatment.