Reprinted from the Artastherapy yahoogroups:
Autumn Treatment May Prevent Winter Depression
November 23, 2005
AP Wire Story
For patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), starting treatment
with an antidepressant medication during the fall can reduce the risk of
developing depression throughout the fall and winter months, reports a
study in a recent issue of Biological Psychiatry, the official journal
of the Society of Biological Psychiatry.
“These are the first systematic studies that indicate that SAD can
actually be prevented in some patients by starting antidepressants early
in the season, before the development of symptoms,” comments Norman E.
Rosenthal, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry, Georgetown Medical
School, and one of the authors of the paper and leader of the research
team that first described SAD over 20 years ago.
Dr. Rosenthal and colleagues performed a study with more than 1,000
patients with SAD from the northern United States and Canada. The
patients, 70% of whom were women, reported an average of 13 previous
episodes of fall-winter depression. Notwithstanding this long history,
almost 60% of patients had received no previous treatment for their
episodes of depression.
The researchers attempted to prevent the development of fall-winter
depression though pre-emptive treatment with the antidepressant
bupropion extended release tablets. One group of patients was randomly
assigned to start treatment with bupropion-XL during the fall, while
they were still well. Patients in the other group received an inactive
placebo. The two groups were then followed over the winter season.
The relapse rate was 16% for patients taking bupropion extended release
compared with 28% for those taking placebo. Early antidepressant
treatment reduced the overall risk of fall-winter depression by about
44%. The antidepressant medication was generally well tolerated. When
the patients stopped taking bupropion extended release in the spring,
there was no increase in the depression relapse rate compared with the
Patients with SAD have episodes of depression occurring in the fall and
winter months. Although the cause is unknown, SAD appears related to
reduced exposure to sunlight during the fall and winter in northern
latitudes-genetic factors likely play a role as well. As in the current
study, many patients with SAD are not treated with antidepressant
medications, despite having many previous episodes of seasonal depression.
Starting antidepressant treatment in the fall offers a new option for
reducing the rate of fall-winter depression in patients with SAD, the
results suggest. “It is a highly novel approach to start treatment
before the development of a major depressive disorder,” says Dr. Rosenthal.
“The strategy makes sense when dealing with a condition where the
pattern of relapse is somewhat predictable and the symptoms being
prevented can be highly distressing and debilitating,” comments Dr.
Rosenthal. “In my opinion, the treatment used in the present study
offers a valuable new option for those afflicted year after year by
Copyright 2005 NewsRx.com. All Rights Reserved.
What are others thoughts on this? Have your or someone you know suffer from SAD?
Today is typically referred to as “Black Friday” meaning that is the day that retailers go into the “black” accounting-wise. It is the biggest shopping day of the year. How ironic that the day after Thanksgiving where we give thanks for all that we have, we go and shop like wild maniacs. I saw some stores advertising opening as early as 5 am! I have a friend who camped out for 24 hours to buy the new XBox. To counteract this commercialism (and resulting rising debt in peoples lives) someone came up with the idea of “Buy Nothing Day.” Sounds like a good idea to me.