How Seasonal Affective Disorder Came to be Recognized as a Problem

A 1981 Washington Post story began: “I should have been a bear.”

The subject, quoted under a pseudo-name, was a young professional woman in New York suffering from depression that only emerged in the fall as the days got shorter, cooler and gloomier. A researcher at the National Institutes of Mental Health, Norman Rosenthal, was studying the impact of light on mental health, and theorized that in rare cases the human brain may respond negatively to the diminishing exposure to sun.

At the end of the Post article, the reporter gave Rosenthal an assist, asking readers to contact him if they too experienced seasonal mood changes.

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