Dr. Kelly Rohan, professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont fears that the anxiety and stress provided by the pandemic will increase the risk and severity of winter depression for everyone.

This winter, the pandemic is expected to intensify the depression experienced by many people with the syndrome known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, which predictably kicks in each fall when the hours daylight shorten in the Northern hemisphere and gradually remit in spring.

An estimated 5 percent of the U.S. population - or one person in 20 - has the full blown SAD syndrome, said Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, the psychiatrist who first identified it in the 1980s and then devised an effective treatment.

In an interview, he estimated that three times as many people have a milder version of SAD, commonly called ''winter blues,'' that saps their energy and enthusiasm for life.

Except for its seasonal pattern, the symptoms of SAD are similar to those of clinical depression :  pervasive sadness, undue fatigue, difficulty concentrating, excessive sleep, lost interest in normally enjoyed activities, and craving for starches and sweets and its attendant weight gain.

''I think we're in for a particularly difficult winter for people with SAD, who seems to be especially susceptible to stressful life events,'' Kelly Rohan said.

''I saw evidence of this last March among the 26 people with SAD we were studying when the pandemic shut everything down. We were interviewing them weekly about their mood and every-one's score shot up dramatically.''

Although the symptoms of SAD normally disappear completely every summer, Dr. Rohan said, ''in the summer of 2020 we didn't see a full remission in pour patients. With such big stresses going on, they are overriding the seasonal pattern.'' 

The honor and serving of this very important publishing continues to Part 2. The World Students Society thanks author Jane. E. Brody.


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