Biological Rhythms and Depressive Disorders

  • Timothy H. Monk
Part of the The Depressive Illness Series book series (DISS, volume 3)


It is increasingly recognized that, like most other creatures on this planet, Homo Sapiens is essentially a rhythmic being. Cycles with a period of about a day (circadian rhythms), less than a day (ultradian rhythms), and more than a day (infradian rhythms) have all been demonstrated in human psychology and physiology, and undoubtedly comprise an important aspect of depressive disorders. This chapter is concerned with the most dominant of these period domains, the circadian rhythms. Other domains are clearly important; the chapter after this one, for example, will be concerned extensively with the ultradian rhythmicity in REM sleep. For a discussion of the infradian rhythm of the menstrual rhythm the reader is recommended a recent book by Severino and Moline (1989).


Circadian Rhythm Circadian System Biological Rhythm Seasonal Affective Disorder Social Rhythm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aschoff J (Ed.): Handbook of Behavioral Neurobiology, Vol. 4, New York: Plenum, 1981.Google Scholar
  2. Aschoff J, Hoffman K, Pohl H, Weyer RA: Re-entrainment of circadian rhythms after phase-shift of the zeitgeber. Chronobiologia 1975; II (1): 23–78.Google Scholar
  3. Avery DH, Wildschiodtz G, Rafaelsen O: Nocturnal temperature in affective disorder. J Affect Disord 1982; 4: 61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beersma DGM, Hoofdakker RH, Berkestijn HWBM: Circadian rhythms in affective disorders. Body temperature and sleep physiology in endogenous depressives. In: Mendlewicz J, Van Praag HM (Eds.), Biological Rhythms and Behavior, New York: Karger, 1983, 114–127.Google Scholar
  5. Borbély AA: A two process model of sleep regulation. Hum Neurobiol 1982; 1: 195–204.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Borbély AA: The two-process model of sleep regulation: Implications for sleep depression. In: Kupfer DJ, Monk TH, Barchas JD (Eds.), Biological Rhythms and Mental Disorders, New York: The Guilford Press, 1988, 55–81.Google Scholar
  7. Borbély AA, Wirz-Justice A: Sleep, sleep deprivation and depression. Hum Neurobiol 1982; 1: 205–210.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Checkley S: The relationship between biological rhythms and the affective disorders. In: Arendt J, Minors DS, Waterhouse JM (Eds.), Biological Rhythms in Clinical Practice, London: Wright, 1989, 160–183.Google Scholar
  9. Daan S, Beersma DGM, Borbély AA: Timing human sleep: Recovery process gated by circadian pacemaker. Am J Physiol 1984; 246: R161 — R178.Google Scholar
  10. Ehlers CL, Frank E, Kupfer DJ: Social zeitgebers and biological rhythms: A unified approach to understanding the etiology of depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1988; 45: 948–952.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Froberg JE: Twenty-four-hour patterns in human performance, subjective and physiological variables and differences between morning and evening active subjects. Biol Psychol 1977; 5: 119–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Halberg F: Physiologic considerations underlying rhythmometry with special reference to emotional illness. In: de Ajuriaguerra J (Ed.), Cycles Biologiques et Psychiatrie, Paris: Georg, 1968, 73–126.Google Scholar
  13. Halberg F: Chronobiology. Annu Rev. Physiol 1969; 31: 675–725.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Halbreich U, Asnis GM, Shindledecker R, Zumoff B, Nathan S: Cortisol secretion in endogenous depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1985; 42: 909–914.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jarrett DB, Coble, PA, Kupfer DJ: Reduced cortisol latency in depressive illness. Arch Gen Psychiat 1983; 40: 506–511.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jauhar P, Weller MPI: Psychiatric morbidity and time zone changes: A study of patients from Heathrow Airport. Br J Psychiat 1982; 140: 231–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Klein KE, Wegmann HM, Hunt BI: Desynchronization as a function of body temperature and performance circadian rhythm as a result of outgoing and homecoming transmeridian flights. Aerospace Med 1972; 43: 119–132.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kripke DF: Photoperiodic mechanisms for depression and its treatment. In: Perris CG, Struwe G, Jansson B (Eds.), Biological Psychiatry, 1981: Proceedings of the Ilnd World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1982, 1249–1252.Google Scholar
  19. Kripke DF: Phase-advance theories for affective illness. In: Wehr TA, Goodwin FK (Eds.), Circadian Rhythms in Psychiatry, Pacific Grove, CA: The Boxwood Press, 1983, 41–69.Google Scholar
  20. Lewy AJ, Kern HA, Rosenthal NE, Wehr TA: Bright artificial light treatment of a manic-depressive patient with a seasonal mood cycle. Am J Psychiat 1982, 139: 1496–1498.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Lewy AJ, Sack RL, Singer CM, White DM, Hoban TM: Winter depression and phase shift hypothesis for bright light’s therapeutic effects: History, theory, and experimental evidence. J Biol Rhythms 1988; 3: 121–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewy AJ, Wehr TA, Goodwin FK, Newsome DA, Markey SP: Light suppresses melatonin secretion in humans. Science 1980; 210: 1267–1269.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Monk TH: Sleep disorders in the elderly. Clin Ger Med 1989; 5: 331–346.Google Scholar
  24. Monk TH, Flaherty JF, Frank E, Hoskinson K, Kupfer DJ: The social rhythm metric: An instrument to quantify the daily rhythms of life. J Nery Ment Dis 1990; 178: 120–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Monk TH, Kupfer DJ, Frank E, Ritenour AM: The social rhythm metric (SRM): Measuring daily social rhythms over a 12 week period. Psychiat Res. 1991; 36; 195–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Moore-Ede MC, Richardson GS: Medical implications of shift-work. Annu Rev Med 1985; 36: 607–617.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moore-Ede MC, Sulzman FM, Fuller CA: The Clocks That Time Us, Boston: Harvard University Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  28. Pfohl B, Sherman B, Schlechte J, Stone R: Pituitary-adrenal axis rhythm disturbances in psychiatric depression. Arch Gen Psychiat 1985; 42: 897–903.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pollak CP, Alexopoulos GS, Moline ML, Wagner DR: Circadian period and phase of body temperature and plasma cortisol rhythms of depressives living in isolation from all temporal cues. Sleep Res. 1989; 18: 438.Google Scholar
  30. Rosenthal NE, Blehar M: Seasonal Affective Disorders and Phototherapy, New York: The Guilford Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  31. Rosenthal NE, Sack DA, Gillin JC, Lewy AJ, Davenport Y, Mueller PS, Newsome DA, Wehr TA: Seasonal affective disorder: a description of the syndrome and preliminary findings with light therapy. Arch Gen Psychiat 1984; 41: 72–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenthal NE, Sack DA, Jacobsen FM, James N, Parry B, Arendt J, Tamarkin L, Wehr TA: Melatonin in seasonal affective disorder and phototherapy. J Neural Trans 1986; 21: 257–267.Google Scholar
  33. Rosenthal NE, Sack DA, Skwerer RG, Jacobsen FM, Wehr TA: Phototherapy for seasonal affective disorder. J Biol Rhythms 1988; 3: 101–120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rubin R, Poland R, Lesser I, Winston RA, Blodgett ALN: Neuroendocrine aspects of primary endogenous depression. Arch Gen Psychiat 1987; 44: 328–336.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schulz H, Lund R: Sleep onset REM episodes are associated with circadian parameters of body temperature: A study in depressed patients and normal controls. Biol Psychiat 1983; 18: 1421–1426.Google Scholar
  36. Severino SK, Moline ML: Premenstrual Syndrome: A Clinician’s Guide, New York: Guilford Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  37. Sherman B, Pfohl B: Rhythm-related changes in pituitary-adrenal function in depression. J Affect Disord 1985; 9: 55–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Skwerer RG, Jacobsen FM, Duncan CC, Kelly KA, Sack DA, Tamarkin L, Gaist PA, Kasper S, Rosenthal NE: Neurobioloy of seasonal affective disorder and phototherapy. J Biol Rhythms 1988; 3: 135–154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Terman M: On the question of mechanism in phototherapy for seasonal affective disorder: Considerations of clinical efficacy and epidemiology. J Biol Rhythms 1988; 3: 155–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Terman M: Light therapy. In: Kryger MH, Roth T, Dement WC (Eds.) Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1989, 717–722.Google Scholar
  41. Thase ME: Affective disorder with other forms of recurrent depression. In: Rosenthal N, Blehar M (Eds.), Seasonal Affective Disorders, New York: Guilford Press, 1989, 64–78.Google Scholar
  42. Wehr TA, Jacobsen FM, Sack DA, Arendt J, Tamarkin L, Rosenthal NE: Photo-therapy of seasonal affective disorder. Arch Gen Psychiat 1986; 43: 870–875.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wehr TA, Sack DA, Duncan WC, Mendelson WB, Rosenthal NE, Gillin JC, Goodwin FK: Sleep and circadian rhythms in affecting patients isolated from external time cues. Psychiat Res 1985; 15: 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wehr TA, Wirz-Justice A, Goodwin FK, Duncan WC, Gillin JC: Phase advance of the circadian sleep-wake cycle as an antidepressant. Science 1979; 206: 710.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Weitzman ED, Czeisler CA, Moore-Ede MC: Sleep—wake, neuroendocrine and body temperature circadian rhythms under entrained and non-entrained (free-running) conditions in man. In: Suda M, Hayaishi O, Nakagawa H (Eds.), Biological Rhythms and Their Central Mechanisms, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1979, 199–227.Google Scholar
  46. Weitzman ED, Kripke DF: Experimental 12-hour shift of the sleep-wake cycle in man: Effects on sleep and physiologic rhythms. In: Johnson LC, Tepas DI, Colquhoun WP, Colligan MJ (Eds.), Variations in Work-Sleep Schedules: Effects on Health and Performance, Advances in Sleep Research, Vol. 7, New York: Spectrum Publications, 1981.Google Scholar
  47. Weitzman ED, Moline ML, Czeisler CA, Zimmerman JC: Chronobiology of aging: Temperature, sleep-wake rhythms and entrainment. Neurobiol Aging 1982; 3: 299–309.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Weyer RA: The circadian multi-oscillator system of man. Int J Chronobiol 1975; 3: 19–55.Google Scholar
  49. Weyer RA: The Circadian System of Man: Results of Experiments Under Temporal Isolation, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1979.Google Scholar
  50. Weyer RA: Order and disorder in human circadian rhythmicity: Possible relations to mental disorders. In: Kupfer DJ, Monk TH, Barchas JD (Eds.), Biological Rhythms and Mental Disorders, New York: Guilford Press, 1988, 238–324.Google Scholar
  51. Wirz-Justice A: Antidepressant drugs: Effects on the circadian system. In: Wehr TA, Goodwin FK (Eds.), Circadian Rhythms in Psychiatry, Pacific Grove, CA: The Boxwood Press, 1983, 235–264.Google Scholar
  52. Zerssen von D, Barthelmes H, Dirlich G, Doerr P, Emrich HM, Von Lindern L, Lund R, Pirke KM: Circadian rhythms in endogenous depression. Psychiat Res. 1985; 16: 51–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zerssen von D, Dirlich G, Doerr P, Emrich HM, Lund R, Ploog D: Are biological rhythms disturbed in depression? Acta Psychiat Belg 1985; 85: 624–635.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy H. Monk
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Chronobiology ProgramUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations