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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Can the shorter days really be affecting me?

Posted By: Advancing Care

Simply put: “There is no question that mood problems can be triggered by seasonal changes,” says Alexander Lerman, MD, Director of the Psychiatric Residency program at WMCHealth’s Behavioral Health Center.

“There’s no evidence that the full moon brings out psychiatric instability — despite centuries of mythology — but there is definitely a change with the equinoxes,” which occur in March and September.

The biologic process of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) starts in your brain, in the pineal gland, which releases melatonin (the chemical that makes you sleepy), and which governs seasonal behaviors (e.g., hibernation) in all mammals. SAD is often a trigger for mood disorders.

Says Dr. Lerman, “In most cases, SAD arises when an underlying mood disorder is triggered by seasonal changes.” Treating it means treating the underlying mood disorder.

Do you have a health-related question for a WMCHealth physician or specialist?

Email your questions to [email protected], with “Just the Facts” in the subject heading. Your question may be featured in a future issue.

Visit us at Westchester Medical Center, a member of Westchester Medical Center Health Network, to learn more. Advancing Care. Here.