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January 1984

Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Description of the Syndrome and Preliminary Findings With Light Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Psychobiology Branch, National Institutes of Health (Drs Rosenthal and Sack, Ms Davenport, and Dr Wehr) and the National Institute of Mental Health (Dr Goodwin), Bethesda, Md, the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego (Dr Gillin), the Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Ophthalmology, Oregon Health Science University, Portland (Dr Lewy), and the Center for Retinal Degeneration, Department of Ophthalmology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and University, Wilmer Institute, Baltimore (Dr Newsome). Dr Mueller is in private practice in Princeton, NJ.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(1):72-80. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790120076010

• Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a syndrome characterized by recurrent depressions that occur annually at the same time each year. We describe 29 patients with SAD; most of them had a bipolar affective disorder, especially bipolar II, and their depressions were generally characterized by hypersomnia, overeating, and carbohydrate craving and seemed to respond to changes in climate and latitude. Sleep recordings in nine depressed patients confirmed the presence of hypersomnia and showed increased sleep latency and reduced slow-wave (delta) sleep. Preliminary studies in 11 patients suggest that extending the photoperiod with bright artificial light has an antidepressant effect.

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