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One in Four Patients With Bipolar II Has Seasonal Affective Disorder

April 15, 2021

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) was most prevalent in patients with early-onset bipolar II disorder, compared with other early-onset mood disorders and healthy control subjects, according to a study published online ahead of print in the journal Depression & Anxiety.

The prospective observational cohort study looked at the pervasiveness of SAD in patients with early-onset mood disorders. The investigation included 138 patients with major depressive disorder, 101 patients with bipolar I disorder, 139 patients with bipolar II disorder, and 235 healthy control subjects. Researchers used the Seasonality Pattern Assessment Questionnaire to assess seasonality.

Overall, seasonal impairment was greater in patients with mood disorders compared with healthy controls, the study found. Among participants with mood disorders, those with bipolar II disorder had the highest prevalence of SAD.

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According to Psychiatric News Alert coverage of the study, SAD affected 23% of participants with bipolar II disorder, compared with approximately 10% of participants with major depressive disorder and bipolar I disorder and just 6% of healthy controls. Winter-associated SAD was most common in participants with bipolar I disorder, according to the report, and summer-associated SAD was most common in participants with major depressive disorder.

SAD was 2 to 3 times more likely to affect patients with bipolar II disorder than patients with major depressive disorder, Psychiatric News Alert reported.

“Early-onset mood disorders, especially bipolar II disorder, were associated with high seasonality,” concluded Heon-Jeong Lee, MD, PhD, of the Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul, and colleagues. “A thorough assessment of seasonality in early-onset mood disorders may be warranted for more personalized treatment and proactive prevention of mood episodes.” 

—Jolynn Tumolo


Yeom JW, Cho CH, Jeon S, et al. Bipolar II disorder has the highest prevalence of seasonal affective disorder in early-onset mood disorders: results from a prospective observational cohort study. Depression & Anxiety. 2021 April 5;[Epub ahead of print].

Bipolar II disorder associated with higher prevalence of seasonal affective disorder. Psychiatric News Alert. April 6, 2021.

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