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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1987;93(3):271-85.

Rhythm and blues. Neurochemical, neuropharmacological and neuropsychological implications of a hypothesis of circadian rhythm dysfunction in the affective disorders.

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  • 1University of Cambridge Clinical School, Department of Psychiatry, Addenbrooke's Hospital, UK.


Current views on the organisation and functions of the circadian rhythm system are outlined. Evidence is presented supportive of the notion that the pathophysiology of the affective disorders involves a disruption of circadian rhythms and that the primary locus of action of agents effective in the affective disorders is on the circadian rhythm system. Potential disruptions of this system are enumerated. Such a hypothesis, it is argued, might potentially unite the disparate neurochemical and neuroendocrinological findings emerging in both depression and mania. There are in addition neuropsychological and nosological implications of such a framework, which may help bridge the divide between molecular and behavioural approaches to research on the affective disorders which are outlined.

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