Seasonal Affective Disorder Conventional Medicine

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Seasonal Affective Disorder  Conventional Medicine 

The conventional medicine for SAD is antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine  have proven effective in treating SAD. Bupropion has also shown promise as a prophylactic. 


Antidepressants are effective in the treatment of SAD but no more effective than light therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy, is the conclusion a rigorous review of the evidence reached. The study compared what are known as second generation – or modern - antidepressants to placebo, light therapy and psychotherapy. The study pooled the findings from all randomised control trials of SAD treatments. It found the evidence for the effectiveness of SGA was limited to three studies, one small trial comparing antidepressants with a placebo and two trials comparing antidepressants with light. Because there is such limited data the authors say that making conclusions about the effectiveness of these antidepressants difficult. However they do conclude antidepressants are effective and as effective as light therapy.

 Hormone regulation in adolescent girls.

A recent study investigated seasonal variations in health and depressive symptoms in adolescent girls. Results showed that as expected the girls experienced  significantly better mental health and less depressive symptoms during the summer, than in winter months.  The interesting result was that during the winter months, the girls taking hormonal contraception or no medication scored better than girls on anti-depressives and other medication. Also,  the group taking hormonal contraception scored better on both physical and mental health than the girls taking no medication.  The study suggests that there is a high prevalence of suspected SAD in adolescent girls and that hormonal contraception may be beneficial. 

The seasonal affective disorder conventional medicine page is updated regularly as new information becomes available in the medical journals.


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