February 07, 2006

Sunlight, suicide and schizophrenia

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping

A story out of PsychCentral (John Grohol's site) suggests that Sunlight is positively, if counterintuitively, linked to an increased risk of suicide, while too little sun causes vitamin D deficiency, a factor newly implicated in schizophrenia.

Suicides peak in May and June in the Northern Hemisphere and in November and December in the Southern Hemisphere. Indeed, the risk increases between 8 and 50 percent in each of the 20 countries surveyed by Dimitrios Trichopoulos, M.D., a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “My suspicion is that sunlight affects suicide risk through hormonal factors like melatonin,” says Trichopoulos. Melatonin is suppressed by sunlight and is known to play a role in mood regulation. The hormones cortisol, serotonin and tryptophan may be affected by sunlight, as well.

There is also a seasonal pattern in the births of schizophrenics. Studies confirm a 10 percent increase in these births in the Northern Hemisphere between February and April. This trend, coupled with findings that children of dark-skinned immigrants to northern countries have high rates of schizophrenia, led scientists to surmise a shortage of sunlight as a possible factor in the illness.

Read Full Story: Mind and Sun: Shedding Light on Suicide and Schizophrenia


I have a weird response to the sun. I use to percept the sunlight reflecting in everything too bright (don't know if it is a symptom) and can only see strong colors in grey rainy days and at night, under spotlights. In summer I feel more anxiety while in winter more depression.

Posted by: Mariana (piece_of_myself) at February 9, 2006 02:04 PM

I always tell my shrink how much the sunlight bothers me. I hate sunny days and the transition from winter to spring with the lengthening days. Not only is sunlight physically painful, but I find I get more depressed, anxious, fretful. May and June are the worst. By August I start to calm down. When I'm really getting worked up I think of the sun as a malevolent orb, preferring the moon. I get upset if we have too many sunny days.

Posted by: Na at February 24, 2006 01:03 PM

I always get much more symptomatic during spring/summer -- days are longer,the sun blazes away day after day after day! -- hmph! -- no way! -- I kinda learned to become a vampire from may till october(!) - sleep during day and stay up at nite -- also, the increased traffic noises from folks being 'out & about' more during warm months brings on a whole separate set of 'symps' in itself --

Posted by: mike m at March 9, 2006 10:13 AM

The things you all have written sound very familiar. I used to think I just liked overcast days more aesthetically, but as the sunnier days of spring and summer come on each year, some internal problems seem to come on so much stronger.

Posted by: Doug at April 14, 2006 02:37 PM

you guys are plain stupid. seratonin and melatonin are the same chemical hormone. sunlight converts melatonin into seratonin, which makes you happy and energized. at night time when you rest seratonin is converted back to melatonin which will make you fall asleep. adequate exposure to sunlight creates more seratonin/melatonin hormone, so you will feel and sleep better! whoever posted this article is plain stupid plain stupid, and i feel sorry for anyone who believes this crap. hah.

Posted by: lol at November 3, 2006 12:15 AM

Dear lol,

not nice to offend only because you think you are right. For years people didn't believe schizophrenics in any of their compliants - and they really suffered from non-understanding. Things that feel good to non-sz people can feel very bad and hurting for people with sz. No need to list them here, if you don't know them, you know nothing about sz.

Posted by: Marija at February 26, 2007 11:26 PM

that would be kind of close to home. One I like gloomy days and feel better when its not sunny. I was born in April. My mom is a dark skinned paranoid schizophrenic who came from the Phillippines. And I have suicidal tendencies. Go figure.

Posted by: easp at November 7, 2007 06:42 AM

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