Luna-tics: Full Moon Madness


Ever had your parents tell you, “Be careful tonight, it’s a full moon?”

The full moon. The visual that continues to raise suspicion in people’s behavior. 

Werewolves. Sleep trouble. Mental health. Homicide. These are all links to Lunatic behavior. In fact, the word “lunatic” originates from the word “lunaticus” in Latin. It refers to madness caused by the moon, also known as moonstuck. The theory of lunar patterns causing hysteria has been around for many, many years. Aristotle even believed that the light from the moon projected negative behavior and mental health. 

But is this entirely true?

The full moon has always been an intriguing piece of conversation in my home. My dad works as an Emergency Medicine Physician… always coming home with the craziest stories. Once and awhile, after his full moon shifts, he comes home describing his absurd day. I interviewed him to hear his encounter with Luna-tics. 


Q- Do you personally believe that the moon affects human behavior? Why?

A- “Yes, I believe that the moon affects behavior because in the 17 years that I have been in emergency medicine, I have witnessed that during full moons the emergency room is generally busier and contains much more rowdier and psychotic behavior.”

Q- What is your worst experience with a patient (On a full moon)?

A- “The worst experience I have had as a physician is when a patient passes away. This unfortunately has happened many times on any phase of the moon. I cannot recall the worst episode that has occurred on a full moon, but in general the emergency room will be busier and we will see more psychiatric cases.”

Q- Do you think Crime Rate increases with a Full moon? Why?

A- “While I have no proof that crimes increases on a full moon. In my experience violent encounters and trauma are seen more frequently on a full moon.”

Q- How do you think the moon affects human behavior?

A- “On a full moon, the night is more lit up. With the increase in light, there is more people out at night leading to an increase in violent encounters and traumas. The brighter night may also interfere with people’s sleep schedule causing more people to be awake. Less sleep will lead to more mood swings and psychiatric breakdowns. It is also possible that the moon effect on the earth’s magnetic field may also alter human’s moods.”

My dad is not the only one with true experience. If you ask most nurses and doctors, they would also believe the full moon has an affect on humans.

Linked here is a Registered Nurse speaking about her experiences with the Full Moon: Does a Full Moon Affect Human Behavior in Patients?


But what has science concluded so far?

Scientists have completed many experiments to test the theory. One study found that the lunar cycles may relate to Bipolar disorder. They examined a group of people with Bipolar Disorder and put them to the test. It was found that a small group of nerves would synchronize with lunar cycles, causing a change in attitude. There was also a similar study with Alzheimer’s disease. Another theory, which originated from Aristotle, is the belief that the water in our body experiences tidal shifts, just as the ocean’s waves. However, this theory was quickly dismissed by science. Another theory is that crime rate increases with a full moon. Yet, there have been no recent studies proving this correct. If anything has been found, it’s that the crime rate decreases with a full moon. 


There is still no clear proof that the moon causes madness… it still remains a theory to this day.