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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 46 (2004) 12, 809 - 817


Winter depression and light-therapy: something new?

K.M. Koorengevel, Y. Meesters

Seasonal affective disorder, winter-type, was first described in 1984. Since then, clinical and scientific interest in seasonal affective disorder has increased and light therapy has become the treatment of choice. This might lead one to conclude that this disorder is a new syndrome and light therapy a new treatment. The truth is, however, that the impact of seasons on man's well-being was recognised even in Antiquity, and in that period we also find references to the beneficial effects of (sun)light. This paper presents a historical overview of the literature that provides information about seasonality of affective disorders and the therapeutic effects of light.


keywords history, phototherapy, seasonal affective disorder