Full moon increases mental instability? Not true

Researchers investigate the association between lunar phases and madness but finds none

Woman's silhuoette against the full moon
Contrary to popular beliefs, the full moon does not increase the incidence of psychological problems

We see many stories in which human beings go crazy when the moon enters the full moon phase. Like Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series who turns into a werewolf on a full moon night. But these tales are just flights of fancy. Contrary to popular beliefs, the full moon does not increase the incidence of psychological problems. Professor Geneviève Belleville of Université Laval’s School of Psychology concluded this after having examined the relationship between the moon’s phases and the number of patients who showed up at hospital emergency rooms experiencing psychological problems.

To establish whether the widespread belief linking the moon to mental health problems was true, researchers studied patients who visited emergency rooms at Montreal’s Sacré-Coeur Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis between March 2005 and April 2008. 771 individuals who showed up at the emergency room with chest pains without any medical cause were studied. Psychological evaluations revealed that a many of these patients suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and mood disorders, or suicidal thoughts.

The researchers tried to relate the moon phase with the timing of these visits occurred. The results of their analysis revealed no link between the incidence of psychological problems and the four lunar phases.

These conclusions are contrary to what many of us believe, including 80% of nurses and 64% of doctors who are convinced that the lunar cycle affects patients’ mental health. “We hope our results will encourage health professionals to put that idea to rest,” said Dr. Belleville. “Otherwise, this misperception could, on the one hand, colour their judgement during the full moon phase; or, on the other hand, make them less attentive to psychological problems that surface during the remainder of the month.”



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