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Volume: 38
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Index: December 2010
Clinical Focus:Respiratory Care
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December 2010
Clinical Focus: Respiratory Medicine
  • Asthma and the athlete
    • Vocal cord dysfunction
    • Exercise-induced asthma
    • Exercise-induced bronchospasm
  • COPD
    • Obesity and COPD
    • Relationship between COPD and nutrition intake
  • Treatment options for steroid-induced osteoporosis in men
  • Treatments for asthma
    • Bronchodilators, anticholinergics
    • Corticosteroids
    • Metered-dose vs other types of inhalers
  • Respiratory infections in winter sports athletes
  • Asthma in elite athletes
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation and physical activity
  • Fitness and long-term oxygen therapy/lung transplantation
  • Airflow function and the metabolic syndrome
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doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.12.1748
The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Volume 37: No.4
An Overview of Seasonal Affective Disorder and its Treatment Options
Robert H. Howland, MD
Abstract: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is defined as a history of major depressive episodes that recur regularly at a particular time of year. Depending on the diagnostic instruments and criteria available, the reported prevalence (1%–10%) varies. Neurotransmitter abnormalities have been implicated in the pathophysiology, but they do not necessarily explain the seasonal pattern or the known chronobiological abnormalities in SAD compared with nonseasonal depression. Circadian rhythm abnormalies have been hypothesized to account for these aspects of SAD, and they provide a rationale for the therapeutic use of light therapy. Family history, twin, and molecular genetics studies suggest that hereditary factors are also involved. Light therapy and antidepressant medication are effective treatment options, with limited evidence for the efficacy of psychotherapy. Some studies demonstrate that narrow-band short wavelength “blue” light, naturalistic dawn simulation, and high-density negative air ionization are effective. Patients should be informed of the benefits of diet and exercise. Light therapy should be clinically monitored in the same manner, as it is done for other antidepressant treatments.

Keywords: seasonal affective disorder; light therapy; exercise; antidepressants; diet

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