Norman Rosenthal

Defeating SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder): A Guide to Health and Happiness Through All Seasons

Dr. Norman Rosenthal is the world renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and best-selling author, who first described seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneered the use of light therapy as a treatment during his twenty years at the National Institute of Mental Health. A prolific researcher and author, he has authored or co-authored over three hundred scholarly articles and ten popular books. These include Winter Blues, Poetry Rx, the New York Times bestseller Transcendence and the national bestsellers, The Gift of Adversity and Super Mind.

In his landmark new book, Defeating SAD, Rosenthal, who first described Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is the foremost authority on the subject, offers an up-to-date guide to overcoming the miseries and that millions experience with the changing seasons. In his lively style, Rosenthal offers advice on how to identify, treat and overcome both winter and summer varieties of seasonal affective disorder, as well as the less severe yet bothersome winter blues.

Having pioneered the use of bright light therapy for SAD and relying on his decades of experience treating SAD patients Rosenthal offers strategies and techniques for defeating the condition, including cognitive-behavioral approaches, diet and exercise advice, medication, and meditation.

Rosenthal’s warm and friendly professional style will leave the reader feeling as though he has been treated to a consultation with a consummate professional, who has fascinating insights into the condition. The book will help show how to optimize your health and well-being through the seasons.

Click here to explore seasonal affective disorder in the news


“Norman Rosenthal, the pioneering researcher and psychiatrist who put seasonal depression on the map, has given the public a real gift in Defeating SAD—a totally up-to-date, fascinating exploration of seasonal depression that is at once scientifically rigorous, practical, and written in delightfully clear and plain English. From the neuroscience of SAD and its evolutionary significance to its treatments—like bright light therapy, psychotherapy and practical lifestyle changes—Rosenthal helps readers understand SAD and, best of all, to conquer it. We can’t all be lucky enough to have Dr. Rosenthal as our psychiatrist, but everyone can benefit from his invaluable book.”
—Richard A. Friedman, M.D.
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical
College, and writer for the New York Times and The Atlantic

Defeating SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder): A Guide to Health and Happiness Through All Seasons


Uncertain if you have seasonal depression? Take the SAD Quiz.

Events ✨

Politics and Prose

Norman E. Rosenthal — Defeating SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder): A Guide to Health and Happiness Through All Seasons – with Dr. William Stixrud — at Conn Ave

  • Date: Tuesday, August 29th
  • Time: 7:00 PM EST
  • Location:  Politics and Prose Bookstore,  5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Watch the replay

Prairie Lights & The David Lynch Foundation (Virtual Event)

Defeating SAD A Conversation With Norman E. Rosenthal M.D. & David Lynch Foundation CEO, Bob Roth

  • Date: Tuesday, Sept. 12th
  • Time: 7 PM CDT | 8 PM EDT
  • Location:  Virtual

Watch the replay

Defeating SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder): A Guide to Health and Happiness Through All Seasons

From The Blog


Beating the Winter Blues: Effective Strategies for Treating SAD

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, affects an estimated 5% of the U.S. population each year in autumn and winter. During these seasons, people...
Read More »
SAD-Symptoms-Featured-Image copy

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms (Top 9)

In this article below, I will cover a few different aspects of the symptoms of winter SAD, their timing, nature and course. What is Seasonal...
Read More »

Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder | Symptoms & Treatment

  Of natures, some are well- or ill-adapted for summer, and some for winter. —Hippocrates What is Summer SAD? While Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is...
Read More »

What college students should know about Seasonal Affective Disorder

I was very pleased when a colleague who heads up the department of psychology at American University in Washington, DC, invited me to talk to...
Read More »

Feeling Depressed? Look on the Bright Side

It was late June in Manhattan, and with the sun beating down on the tarred roads and paved sidewalks, the last thing you would imagine...
Read More »

Seasonal Affective Disorder—Beating the Winter Blues

  Here in the northern hemisphere the days are getting shorter and darker. Not only is that a fact, but many of us feel it...
Read More »

Case Studies

In Defeating SAD you will meet many people with seasonal affective disorder who have been successfully treated in one way or another, including Janelle, Henry, and Susan.

Janelle, a 30-year-old physical therapist has struggled with SAD for years. Light therapy started in the fall and was very helpful for a while. When it stopped working I suggested she increase the duration of treatment, which served her well through the rest of winter.

Henry, a building contractor in his 40s had a different problem. Although light therapy helped him during the winter, in the spring he became hyper and started arguing with people. He didn’t realize that when the day length increased, the light became too much for him. Once we shortened his treatment, he did beautifully.

Susan, a New England college student, responded well to light through the winter. She was able to stop light therapy in the spring but her symptoms came back in May. We analyzed her problem and realized that a cloudy month can cause SAD symptoms even out of season.

The goal of my book Defeating SAD is, as the subtitle promises, a guide to health and happiness through all seasons. It is by design a concise book and an easy read. I am pleased to say, however, that I have packed into it the essence of what I have learned about helping people live well through all seasons. It is designed so that you can easily get to the “bottom line.”

I hope that you not only learn many things from Defeating SAD but also find it an enjoyable and pleasant read.



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Mental health research pioneer Dr. Norm Rosenthal opens his new book Defeating SAD with Albert Camus’s entreaty to find your “invincible summer”. Defeating SAD simply and elegantly shows us how to achieve this goal. After discovering seasonal affective disorder years ago, Dr. Rosenthal set out to educate people afflicted with winter depression and other seasonal difficulties. In doing so, he has gifted us with tools to navigate the hopelessness and defeat that may arise when seasons change. This new book offers updated practical, evidence-based guidance and inspirational stories. Defeating SAD is a must read not only for those who struggle with the dark months but also as a guide to how to lead a happier life through all seasons.
- Pamela M. Peeke MD, MPH, FACP, FACSM
Assistant Professor of Medicine, U of MD
Pew Foundation Scholar in Nutrition and Metabolism
New York Times bestselling author The Hunger Fix, Body for Life for Women, Fight Fat after Forty