Seasonal affective disorder Mental illness

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Seasonal affective disorder

  • Mental illness


  • What is Seasonal affective disorder

  • Pathophysiology

  • Treatment

  • History

  • SAD and Bipolar Disorder

  • Famous sufferers

What is Seasonal affective disorder?

  • Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, also known as winter depression is an affective, or mood, disorder. Most SAD sufferers experience normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer. SAD is rare, if existent at all, in the tropics, but is measurably present at latitudes north of 30°N, or south of 30°S.


  • Related mostly to light

  • Prevalent even in mid-latitude places with mild winters

  • Prolonged periods of overcast weather can also exacerbate SAD

  • can be a serious disorder and may require hospitalization

  • Symptoms of SAD mimic those of dysthymia or clinical depression, lack energy to get out of bed and do things

  • lack of serotonin


  • Light therapies - dose of 10,000 lux. Many use it for 30-60 minutes daily.

  • Medications - SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants ( Prozak, Zoloft, Paxil )

  • Ionized-air reception - elease of charged particles into the sleep environment


  • Winter depression (or winter blues) is a common slump in the mood of Scandinavians. Doctors estimate that about 20% of all Swedes are affected, and it seems to be genetically heritable.[citation needed] It was first described by the 6th century Goth scholar Jordanes in his Getica where he described the inhabitants of Scandza (Scandinavia).[17]

  • In the United States of America the diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder was first proposed by Norman E. Rosenthal, MD in 1984. Rosenthal wondered why he became muggish during the winter after moving from sunny South Africa to New York. He started experimenting increasing exposure to artificial light, and found this made a difference.

Famous sufferers

  • Johnny Briggs

  • Rosie O'Donnell

  • Barbara Hambly

  • Rick Strom

  • Norman E. Rosenthal

  • Natalie Imbruglia

  • Monty Don

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