BACKGROUND: The purpose of the study was to examine whether some individuals who report alcohol dependence consistently deteriorate during the fall and winter months. We also explored whether this deterioration could be attributed to seasonal affective disorder.
METHOD: Veterans Administration inpatients were administered a screening questionnaire concerning seasonal patterns in alcohol use and other variables. Those who suggested a fall-winter pattern were interviewed.
RESULTS: Six individuals were identified who met criteria for seasonal alcohol dependence (based on DSM-III-R criteria for seasonal depression). Two case summaries are provided.
CONCLUSION: Evaluation for seasonal affective disorder may be warranted in alcoholic patients. In such cases, light therapy may prove a useful adjunct to conventional treatment.
McGrath RE; Yahia M. Preliminary data on seasonally related alcohol dependence. Department of Psychology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ 07666. J Clinical Psychiatry, 1993 Jul, 54:7, 260-2.
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