Cognitive Behavior Therapy Best for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Teri Robert Health Guide
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of severe recurrent depression that occurs annually in the fall and winter seasons, accounting for 10-20% of cases of recurrent depression. Bright light therapy has previously been shown to be the most effective treatment. In the management of SAD, the challenge is preventing the recurrent episodes in subsequent years.


    University of Vermont psychologist Kelly Rohan has presented the first published research study of the long-term effects of different treatments for SAD. The first year Rohan randomized 69 people with SAD into one of four groups:

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    • Light therapy (LT) treatment: 10,000-lux SunRay© light box in two 45-minute daily dose, morning and evening (LT group)

    • Group cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): 1.5-hour sessions, twice a week (CBT group)

    • A combination of the two (CBT+LT group)

    • Wait-list control.

    She then surveyed participants on how they were doing the next winter – one year later...


    Which group did best? Which treatment was most helpful? To find out, continue reading Cognitive Behavior Therapy Shown Best for Seasonal Affective Disorder.


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    © Teri Robert, 2009. Last updated October 19, 2009.

Published On: October 19, 2009