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Life Under the Sun$
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Peter A. Ensminger

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088045

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088045.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

A SAD Tale

A SAD Tale

(p.56) 5 A SAD Tale
Life Under the Sun

Pete A. Ensminger

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses seasonal affective disorder (SAD), its symptoms and physiological mechanisms, and its diagnosis using the” Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire,” epidemiology. It also looks at the therapeutic value of phototherapy in the treatment of SAD. Explaining the pathway of optic nerve signals from the retina to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus in the brain, this chapter describes research focused on the role of SCN, the circadian rhythm, and pineal hormones and serotonin neurotransmitters that cause SAD. Additionally, this chapter details studies correlating SAD with melatonin based on the fact that the latter regulates rhythms in animals and its secretion is regulated by light. This chapter further discusses a hypothesis based on experiments with drugs such as atenolol, propranolol, various antidepressant drugs, which emphasizes the role of melatonin, the serotonin system, and the circadian rhythm hypothesis of SAD.

Keywords:   seasonal affective disorder, suprachiasmatic nucleus, serotonin system, circadian rhythm hypothesis

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