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Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2010 Jan-Feb;38(1):50-6. Epub 2010 Jan 1.

Emergency psychiatric condition, mental illness behavior and lunar cycles: is there a real or an imaginary association?

[Article in English, Spanish]

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  • 1Clinical Psychology and Health Department Psychology School Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.


There is a fairly widespread belief regarding the influence of the moon phases on the psychological behavior in humans. This relationship could be more pronounced among patients with mental disorders.


To study the possible association between the incidence of psychiatric emergencies and moon phases and between the behaviors of psychiatric patients and moon phases.


Daily series of cases seen in psychiatric emergencies were established according to the condition, typical behaviors manifested and treatments received by patients admitted to the short-term in-patient psychiatric unit, and the brightness of the moon, from 11-1-2006 to 10-31-2007. The possible association between the first two with the second was examined by making cross-correlations in the tuning fork of delays from 0 to 7 days.


No association appeared between moon phases and characteristics of psychiatric emergencies. In hospitalized patients, a correlation was observed between the moon phases and the bed occupancy rate, which was direct, weak but significant, decreasing until the third day after admission (0.20, 0.18, 0.16 and 0.11), while hypnotic medication intake increased with moon brightness moon until the second day after, also declining and significantly weakness (0.22, 0.19 and 0.15).


The only empirical relationship of the moon phases with psychiatric behavior of the mentally ill in our sample was manifested as an increase in the incidence of cases and greater disruption of sleep patterns.

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