Background Little is known about the presentation and management of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in primary care.
Aims To determine the use of health care services by people suffering from SAD.
Method Following a screening of patients consulting in primary care, 123 were identified as suffering from SAD. Each was age- and gender-matched with two primary care consulters with minimal seasonal morbidity, yielding 246 non-seasonal controls. From primary care records, health care usage over a 5-year period was established.
Results Patients with SAD consulted in primary care significantly more often than controls and presented with a wider variety of symptoms. They received more prescriptions, underwent more investigations and had more referrals to secondary care.
Conclusions Patients with SAD are heavy users of health care services. This may reflect the condition itself, its comorbidity or factors related to the personality or help-seeking behaviour of sufferers.
Declaration of interest Funded by the Scottish Office Department of Health and Grampian Primary Care NHS Trust.
- winter depression
- light therapy
- controlled trial