McLean Hospital 115 Mill Street Belmont, MA 02478
Mood disturbances in children and adults can be related to circadian (24-hour) or seasonal disruptions in their underlying biology. Developmental Studies, a clinical research program founded in 1998, investigates the effectiveness of light therapy on seasonal depression. Our approach includes people diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder and those with lesser symptoms (“the winter blues”), both involving circadian rhythm disturbances. We have found light treatment to be an effective and fast-acting alternative to medications such as antidepressants.
In a national multi-center trial involving patients diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, we found that both white light (the standard treatment for SAD) and blue light were effective in relieving symptoms.
Previously, we were among the first to investigate bupropion (Wellbutrin) in the treatment of adolescent major depression, finding bupropion appeared to be a safe and effective treatment. In addition, in a study of the relationships between aggression, depression, and alcohol and tobacco use among college students, we found that students with aggressive behaviors are at the highest risk for depression.