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, “Modern psychiatry has tended to support what my experience has been, namely that SAD isn’t really an independent illness. In most cases, SAD arises when an underlying mood disorder is triggered by seasonal changes.” Treating it means treating the underlying mood disorder.
For more about behavioral health services offered
at Westchester Medical Center, go to: www.westchestermedicalcenter.com/bhc