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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2012 December;53(4):321-32

language: English

Circadian rhythms and major depressive disorder: a chronobiological approach of depression

Charpeaud T., Tixeront C., Lorabi O., Samalin L., Llorca P. M.

Department of Psychiatry B, University of Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France


Many abnormalities of circadian rhythms have been described in major depressive disorder, affecting both cycles and sleep architecture, as the regulation of body temperature and certain hormone levels (cortisol, growth hormone, prolactin or melatonin). Chronobiological theory is based on the action of external events, called “social zeitgebers” on the dysregulation of the central biological clock. Advances in genetics can lead to a model of individual vulnerability to these exogenous events. So, this theory could help to integrate within a single approach, biological, psychological and psychosocial aspects of depressive episodes. The objective of this review was to describe the fundamental aspects of the chronobiological aspects of mood disorders, which interest is now reinforced by recent therapeutic innovations.

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