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BJPsych Open. 2017 Aug 30;3(4):196-203. doi: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.116.004960. eCollection 2017 Jul.

Seasonal affective disorder and non-seasonal affective disorders: results from the NESDA study.

Author information

1
, MD, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
2
, PhD, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
3
, PhD, Department of Psychiatry/EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
, MD, PhD, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is considered to be a subtype of depression.

AIMS:

To compare the clinical picture of SAD to non-seasonal affective disorders (non-SADs).

METHOD:

Diagnoses according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) were established in 2185 participants of the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. The Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire was administered to diagnose SAD. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were measured with the Inventory of Depressive Symptoms, the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Fear Questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Participants with SAD, participants with a lifetime bipolar disorder and participants with a lifetime comorbid anxiety and depressive disorder scored highest in terms of psychopathology in the past year. The seasonal distribution of major depressive episodes was not different for participants with or without SAD.

CONCLUSIONS:

SAD may be a measure of severity of depression with a subjectively perceived worsening of symptoms in the winter months.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST:

Y.M. has received research funding and served as a consultant for Royal Philips Electronics NV and The Litebook Company Ltd. W.A.N. has received grants from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, the European Union, the Stanley Medical Research Institute, Astra Zeneca, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and Wyeth; has received honoraria/speaker's fees from Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, Servier and Wyeth; and has served in advisory boards for Astra Zeneca, Pfizer and Servier.

COPYRIGHT AND USAGE:

© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2017. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) license.

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