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Everyone recognizes spring fever the giddiness that lifts the spirits as the short dark days of winter become the longer sunnier days of spring But have you ever noticed the decrease of energy during the fall and winter month Doctors first noticed this opposite annual winter depression 150 years ago but the condition remained a theory until the early 1980s when researchers began linking the darkening of peoples winter moods to the lack of sunlight from November through March Today this condition is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression brought about by shortened days and decreased sunlight during the winter season The symptoms of SAD which occur every winter like clockwork include lack of energy increased desire for sleepespecially during the day larger appetite and weight gainBack in the late 70s Neal Owens was a petroleum salesman with an odd problem Every spring and summer he remembers I was my companys top salesman But come fall and winter my sales fell to last place Owens boss accused him of goofing off each year around the holidays but Owens insisted that he was not I just seemed to lose my get up and go in winter Owens thought that at first he was sick so he went to see his doctor His doctor ran many tests but the results all came out normal Owens wound up seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed depression and prescribed various stimulants and antidepressants They helped but Owens still felt out of itOne day in 1982 Owens saw a television show about depression It talked about the study of a new kind of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder that struck people around the same time every winter and caused other symptoms like winter weight gain and the desire for sleep Hey thats me Owens thought As his mood darkened each year his weight climbed by 20 pounds and as his depression lifted each spring
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