Moon doesn't cause psychological problems

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No connection between the phases of the moon and psychological problems: In the vernacular, the moon is said to have a significant influence on the psyche of humans, which should be expressed, for example, in sleep problems, anxiety disorders or even increased thoughts of suicide. Canadian scientists led by Geneviève Belleville from the School of Psychology at Laval University in Quebec have now published a study in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, which examines the effects of the "lunar cycles on anxiety, mood disorders, panic and suicidal thoughts in patients" .

According to the scientists, a significant proportion of the population is convinced of the effects of the lunar cycle on mental health. Even among medical staff such as nurses and nurses, 80 percent see a connection between the moon and the psyche, and 64 percent among doctors, the researchers report. However, the result of their study shows that there is actually no connection between the different phases of the moon and psychological problems, said Belleville and colleagues.

Moon phases without affecting the psyche? The research team led by Geneviève Belleville used the data of 771 patients from the emergency room of two clinics for their investigation. All patients were hospitalized between 2005 and 2008 for unexplained chest pain or a stab in the chest. The majority of the patients were diagnosed with mental disorders such as panic attacks, anxiety disorders, mood swings and suicidal thoughts, the scientists explained the selection of the study participants. The analysis of the data showed significant seasonal effects on panic and anxiety disorders - panic attacks were more common in spring and anxiety disorders more frequently in summer - but the researchers were unable to establish a general connection with the phases of the moon. "We saw no effects of full moon or new moon on the mental disorders," emphasized Genevieve Belleville. There is “no connection between the different phases of the moon and the occurrence of psychological problems,” the researchers write, but at the same time point to an observed exception. Anxiety disorders occurred 32 percent less frequently in the last quarter of the moon phase. However, this could be coincidental or due to other factors that were not measured beforehand, Belleville explained.

No sleep problems with a full moon A good two years ago, Austrian sleep researchers had already examined a possible connection between sleep problems and the lunar cycle, with the clear result: "A full moon does not cause insomnia". The scientists had their subjects keep a so-called sleep diary, in which all sleeping difficulties should be recorded. When comparing the sleeping diaries with the lunar calendar, however, the researchers were unable to identify any connections. If people associate the full moon with sleep problems, this is usually due to the fact that an explanation is being sought for sleep difficulties that already exist, as the full moon offers itself. In time, however, something like a self-fulfilling prophecy could result. Because in memory of the sleep problems during the last full moon night, comparable sleep difficulties are expected again on coming full moon nights. This thought alone makes some people sleep worse, according to the experts. (fp)

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