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In SAD patients, autumn antidepressants can prevent winter depression

n relapse rate compared with the placebo group.

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, author of the newly revised Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder: What It Is and How to Overcome It (Guilford Publications, 2005).

"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 winter depression."


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Source:Elsevier


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