Andres Magnusson and Timo Partonen

in Seasonal Affective Disorder

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780199544288
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754593 | DOI:

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The writings of the Greek Hippocrates (circa 460–377 BC) discussed the relationships between seasonal climatic conditions and both mania and melancholia (quoted in Zilboorg 1941). The Roman Aulus Cornelius Celsus (circa 25 BC–50 AD) thought that melancholia, madness, and epilepsy were at their peak in the spring (Celsus 1838). After these early observations, there are some excerpts in which therapeutic applications are mentioned. The Greek Aretaeus recommended in the second century AD that lethargics were “to be laid in the light and exposed to the rays of the sun” (Aretaeus 1856). The Greek Posidonius observed in the fourth century AD that mania is an intermittent disease that repeats itself once a year or more often, and he thought that melancholia occurred primarily in the fall, whereas mania occurred in the summer (quoted in Roccatagliata 1986). Nowadays, the seasonal variations in mental disorders have been studied by analysis of such parameters as suicide mortality, prescriptions of antidepressant medication, administration of electroconvulsive therapy, and admissions due to mood disorders, etc. (Eastwood and Peter 1988; Wehr and Rosenthal 1989).

Chapter.  2890 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychiatry

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