In This Issue -- Complementary Health Approaches for Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starts in the late fall and early winter and goes away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD. To be diagnosed with SAD, people must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons for at least 2 years. Some of the symptoms of the winter pattern of SAD include having low energy, overeating, craving carbohydrates, and social withdrawal. Light therapy has become a standard treatment of SAD, and antidepressants have also been shown to improve SAD symptoms.

Some people turn to complementary health approaches to prevent SAD, including St. John’s wort, melatonin, and vitamin D. This issue of the digest provides the summary of current research for these modalities.


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What the Science Says:
Complementary Health Approaches for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Learn what current research has to say about:

Bullet Light Therapy

Bullet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT-SAD)

Bullet St. John’s Wort

Bullet Melatonin

Bullet Vitamin D

Read more »

Additional Resources

Bullet Clinical Practice Guidelines

Bullet For Your Patients

Bullet 6 Things To Know About Complementary Health Approaches for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Visit NCCIH’s website to read the full issue of this month’s Clinical Digest

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary and integrative health, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.


NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the NIH. The mission of NCCIH is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at