News Ticker

Researchers: No link between full moon and mental illness

Researchers at the Université Laval contend that no link exists between full moons and mental illness. This is, of course, is contrary to the popular belief that a link exists between the phases of the moon and the frequency of psychological disorders. Researchers at the Université Laval’s School of Psychology came to this conclusion after looking at the relationship between lunar cycles and the number of people arriving at hospitals suffering from psychological problems.

In order to put to bed the myth once and for all, researchers evaluated patients who visited the emergency room of the Sacré-Coeur Hospital in Montreal and the Hotel-Dieu de Lévis between March 2005 and April 2008. They focused on 771 people who arrived at the hospital due to chest pain for which no medical cause could be established. A psychological assessment has discovered that a large number of these people suffered from panic attacks, anxiety disorders, mood disorders or suicidal ideation.

Researchers used lunar calendars to see what phase the moon was in during each visit to the hospital. After a careful analysis, the researchers concluded that no link exists between the frequency of mental illnesses and the four lunar phases. However, researchers found that anxiety disorders were 32 percent less frequent during the last quarter moon.

“This may be due to chance or to factors that we have not measured in advance . Certainly, we did not observe any effect of the full moon or new moon on psychological disorders,” says Professor Geneviève Belleville.

Researchers note that their conclusion contradicts what many people believe. In fact, 80 percent of nurses and 64 percent of doctors are convinced that lunar cycle impacts the mental health of patients.

“We hope that our results will encourage health professionals to put that idea aside,” says Professor Belleville. “Otherwise, this belief may, on the one hand, to color their judgment during the full moon and, secondly, to train them to be less alert to the psychological problems for the rest of the month.”

The study’s findings are described in detail in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.