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February 1986

Seasonal Affective Disorders: Seasonal Energy Syndrome?

Author Affiliations

Research Facilities Fair Oaks Hospital 19 Prospect St Summit, NJ 07901

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(2):188. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800020098013

To the Editor.—  Having extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of seasonal affective disorders,1 which we would better classify as seasonal energy syndrome, we wish to alert clinicians to several major concerns.1. The disorder is not limited to the fall-winter period but indeed involves a spring-summer syndrome of hyperphoria, impulsivity, violence, and agitated psychosis. Of 47 patients thus far studied, 17 patients were hospitalized for a total of 71 admissions. Of these admissions, 51 occurred between March and August and just 20 between September and February.2. Summer symptoms can often be precipitated or exacerbated by fullspectrum light.3. The disorder often mimics an atypical bipolar disorder but differs insofar as patients, when carefully questioned, report energy-anhedonia symptoms rather than true affective complaints. Thus, anhedonia and low energy level in the fall-winter period and hyperphoria, racing thoughts, and agitation in the spring-summer period are the hallmarks of

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