Early response to light therapy partially predicts long-term antidepressant effects in patients with seasonal affective disorder

L. Sher, J. R. Matthews, E. H. Turner, T. T. Postolache, K. S. Katz, N. E. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if the antidepressant effect of 1 hour of light therapy is predictive of the response after 1 and 2 weeks of treatment in patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Patients: Twelve patients with SAD. Setting: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Bethesda, Md. Interventions: Light therapy for 2 weeks. Outcome measures: Scores on the Seasonal Affective Disorder Version of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (SIGH-SAD) on 4 occasions (before and after 1 hour of light therapy and after 1 and 2 weeks of therapy) in the winter when the patients were depressed. Change on typical and atypical depressive scores at these time points were compared. Results: Improvement of atypical depressive symptoms after 1 hour of light therapy positively correlated with improvement after 2 weeks of therapy. Conclusion: In patients with SAD, the early response to light therapy may predict some aspects of long-term response to light therapy, but these results should be treated with caution until replicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-338
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 10 2001



  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Phototherapy
  • Seasonal affective disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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