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Reading Passage: Read the passage, and then answer the questions that follow: Seasonal Affective Disorder: More than Just the Blues
A Joshua dreads the winter months, not only because of the cold New England weather--the sleet, snow, wind, and rain--but because as the seasons change from summer to fall to winter, the days get shorter. As the days get shorter, he starts feeling depressed and irritable and spends more and more time at home, eating and sleeping. A graduate student in philosophy, Joshua finds that he gets little work done during the winter months and has trouble paying attention in class and concentrating on his research. "I soon realized that what I thought was just the 'winter blues' was something more extreme than that." Josh visited a doctor who diagnosed him with SAD.
B Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a kind of depression that occurs seasonally. It is associated with the long hours of darkness and lack of sunlight during the winter months (people with SAD usually feel worse from December through February). Scientists don't completely understand the exact causes of SAD, but they believe it is related to a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the basic part of the brain that controls the body's breathing, heartbeat, metabolism, and hormone release. The effects of SAD include moodiness, irritability, low energy, increased appetite for carbohydrates (foods such as potatoes, rice, and bread), difficulty concentrating, and the tendency to oversleep.
C Although doctors described SAD for the first time in 1984, humans have probably dealt with the disorder for thousands of years. It is not a coincidence that many cultures have important celebrations during the short days of the winter months. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice celebrations all occur in December. These celebrations involve lighting...
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