What's interesting about Rosenthal is that he, too, suffered from a seasonal illness. When he left Johannesburg, South Africa for New York to attend medical school, he suddenly found that "the long summer days were a source of endless delight and the short, dark winter days brought a dreariness of spirit that was alien and mysterious." The treatment that Rosenthal and his colleagues offered was "light therapy."
In an article from 2002 0n his website, Rosenthal writes, "In the past few years pharmaceutical companies have joined in the effort to find new angles for treating and preventing SAD. This is an extremely welcome development because it highlights SAD as a condition worth studying and treating. In addition, many patients with SAD do not respond to light therapy alone, while others would benefit by having more treatment options.
"When we began our work over 20 years ago, many of our colleagues considered it strange and eccentric. It has been gratifying to see it enter the scientific and clinical mainstream, a realization made concrete this past year by an award from the Anna-Monika Foundation for depression research to Dr. Thomas A. Wehr and myself. An equally important acknowledgment comes in the form of the many reports from individuals who have benefited from having their SAD diagnosed and successfully treated.
"Despite the accomplishments of the field, we still do not understand the fundamental biological abnormalities in SAD or how light works. Perhaps the next decade of research will provide answers to these questions."
I'd be interested in knowing how many other people feel that their illness has a seasonal component. I know that Polly from polarcoaster has written about it and perhaps others as well. Tomorrow, I'll discuss a related issue: hibernation.