It was said in Shakespeare’s “Othello” that the full moon has been known to drive men to bizarre behavior. Well, it turns out to be a long-held belief that the full moon can stir up emotions, provoke unusual behavior, and even cause physical illness. While there may be little science to back up the link between the full moon and mental health effects, researchers have their own theories as to what the link is.

How the Full Moon Belief Came to Be

From as far back as 400 B.C., physicians and philosophers would blame the full moon on behavioral changes. After all, the word “lunatic” comes from the idea that changes in mental state were related to the lunar cycles. Famed jurist William Blackstone wrote that people lost their ability to reason during the moon’s shifting phases. The ocean’s tides rise and fall in time with the moon’s phases and several marine species have reproductive systems that are roughly timed to lunar cycles. Even if science has trouble understanding what the moon has to do with unusual behavior, you cannot deny the connection.

How the Full Moon Affects Mental Health and Mood

Exposure to daylight and darkness has led to the development of circadian rhythms that affect not just your sleep-wake cycle, but your physical and mental health, too. When circadian rhythms get shaky, they can cause or increase mental health disorders like anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia. The full moon brightens the sky from 0.1 to 0.3 lux like a single streetlight or a cell phone screen.

Do you feel that nature, like the moon is effecting your mental health?

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How the Full Moon Affects Bipolar Disorder

Even though researchers have discovered that people experience mental health disorders during all phases of the moon, bipolar disorder may be the exception. A 2018 study showed that 17 people with bipolar disorder tend to switch rapidly from depression to manic during lunar patterns. In a 2019 case study, researchers suggest those with bipolar change their medications, such as thyroid medications or antidepressants, and use light therapy. Even though the full moon has been proven not to cause erratic behavior, scientists still continue to explore how the moon can make an impact on us physically and mentally. If you feel like you are experiencing negative mental health symptoms during the full moon, it is best to speak to your doctor before you make any radical changes to your medications and your life routine.

While the full moon may not have as big an effect on us as legends tell us, the way you perceive light can make a difference in your mental health. People who are not surrounded by sunlight as often, based on the weather or where they live, can have their mental health affected. While your world may seem dark, you can look to Alta Loma’s treatment center to bring light back to your life again. Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alta Loma’s transformative treatment center can provide you with a personalized plan designed to give you control over your life. There are a number of ways in which we can help, such as individualized therapy, therapeutic recreational activities, and more. We understand how hard it may be to manage your mental health symptoms, but we are here for you. Take that first step and give us a call today at (866) 457-3843.