Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For SAD Sufferers, Cognitive Behavior Better Than Light Therapy At Preventing Recurrence, Study Suggests

Date:
October 17, 2009
Source:
University of Vermont
Summary:
A new research study examined the long-term effects of different treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of severe depression that occurs annually in the fall and winter seasons. Of those treated with cognitive behavior therapy, only 7 percent had a recurrence compared to 36.7 percent of people treated with light therapy.

In the September issue of the journal Behavior Therapy, University of Vermont psychologist Kelly Rohan presents the first published research study of the long-term effects of different treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of severe depression that occurs annually in the fall and winter seasons. The first year Rohan randomized 69 people with SAD into one of four groups: light therapy treatment, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), a combination of the two or a wait-list control. She then surveyed participants on how they were doing the next winter – one year later.

Of those treated with CBT, only 7 percent had a recurrence compared to 36.7 percent of people treated with light therapy. The recurrence rate for the combination group was 5.5 percent. When Rohan looked at the severity of the depression that did occur, however, CBT was associated with less severe depression than those treated with either light therapy or a combination of both.

In a previous study that measured the acute affects of each treatment (immediately following six weeks of intervention), combination therapy was highly effective, with a nearly 80 percent remission rate compared to 50 percent for both CBT and light therapy alone and 20 percent on the wait-list.

Rohan hypothesizes that such dramatic results for the combination therapy are the result of being in a heavily monitored study with full participation. When people are left on their own to manage symptoms the subsequent winter, follow-through is much more difficult. This “watered-down” effect of a two-modality treatment, Rohan notes, has been reported for 20 years across psychology disorders of all sorts.

“People treated with only CBT – that’s all they know,” she says, “so I think they do it with gusto in the next year and reap the benefits.”

Of the light therapy group, only four people used it on their own the following winter. Rohan considers this unsurprising given the commitment the treatment requires: 30 minutes sitting in front of a light box every day through the difficult season. Her data shows that long-term compliance is rare.

A $2 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will advance the next phase of Rohan’s research. In the “Cadillac” version of the trial, as she calls it, Rohan will follow a much larger sample, 160 people, over two consecutive winters. That study, in progress now, will compare only CBT and light therapy.

“The combination therapy may blow your socks off across six weeks of the initial winter,” says Rohan, “but if it doesn’t have good long-term outcomes, what is the point? This is a recurrent depression. It’s going to come back every year in some form and I want to develop treatments that are going to have lasting effects.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Vermont. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Vermont. "For SAD Sufferers, Cognitive Behavior Better Than Light Therapy At Preventing Recurrence, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091016163659.htm>.
University of Vermont. (2009, October 17). For SAD Sufferers, Cognitive Behavior Better Than Light Therapy At Preventing Recurrence, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091016163659.htm
University of Vermont. "For SAD Sufferers, Cognitive Behavior Better Than Light Therapy At Preventing Recurrence, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091016163659.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins