Could Your Birth Season Cause Mood Disorder?

Researchers from Budapest, Hungary are presenting a study which links birth season with temperament. The study shows that people born at certain times of year may have a greater chance of developing certain types of affective temperaments, which in turn can lead to mood disorders (affective disorders).

Now, I must offer full disclosure here. I mean no disrespect, but, I am a big skeptic when it comes to anything labeled holistic or “New Age.” I am a huge skeptic regarding astrology, ear candling, herbal solutions to treat mental disorders, biorhythms, and reading auras. While I think yoga is an excellent form of exercise and meditation, I do not know where my chakras are, but I don’t think they hold certain aspects of my personality or mood – that is what my brain is for.

Even as a practicing Buddhist who meditates, chants and tries to live by the ideals of the Eight-fold Path, I’m skeptical about some of the beliefs. I do not believe in bodhisattvas (a person who has attained Enlightenment, but purposely doesn’t attain Nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment), and my belief in reincarnation is sketchy at best. Even the researcher’s press release mentions the connection between the study’s results and its connection with myths,

Seasons of birth have traditionally been associated with certain personality traits, such as novelty seeking, and various folklore justifications, such as astrology, have sought to explain these associations.

According to lead researcher, Assistant Professor Xenia Gonda:

Biochemical studies have shown that the season in which you are born has an influence on certain monoamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which is detectable even in adult life. This led us to believe that birth season may have a longer-lasting effect. Our work looked at over 400 subjects and matched their birth season to personality types in later life. Basically, it seems that when you are born may increase or decrease your chance of developing certain mood disorders.

Commenting for the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Professor Eduard Vieta (Barcelona) said:

Seasons affect our mood and behavior. Even the season at our birth may influence our subsequent risk for developing certain medical conditions, including some mental disorders. What’s new from this group of researchers is the influence of season at birth and temperament. Temperaments are not disorders but biologically-driven behavioral and emotional trends. Although both genetic and environmental factors are involved in one’s temperament, now we know that the season at birth plays a role too. And the finding of “high mood” tendency (hyperthymic temperament) for those born in summer is quite intriguing.

Do I hope there is something to this? You bet your ass. I fully support any study that could lead to easing or erasing the pain so many of us live with. However, hope is as far as I can go. I’m not optimistic that this study could lead to anything. I just found it amusing.

What do you think? Am I too skeptical? Do you think they may be onto something?

16 comments on Could Your Birth Season Cause Mood Disorder?

  1. I find it intriguing when science finds ways to measure or prove (or disprove, for that matter) folklore. Sometimes people observe patterns for which we have not yet found scientific explanations. I, like you, believe that skepticism is healthy, as is an open mind. Although I am skeptical of astrology as a whole, I always identified strongly as a Leo. The personality traits fit mine. My name Kitt (some mistakenly have called me Kitty) is somewhat feline. When other pre-teen girls had horses all over their walls, I had big cats (lions, tigers, leopards). Similarly, when I was an atheist, I still prayed. I love the paradox. Skeptically holding certain beliefs.

    1. A lot of similarity between us, Kitt. I am extremely skeptical of astrology, however, I am a Libra and every description of a Libra I read describes me down to the smallest detail. It is uncanny and does make me stop and think sometimes.

  2. I have always thought that the season you were born in has an affect on your personality, hence why astrology is true to some extent. This makes good sense to me! Thank you for posting!

    1. Thank you for stopping in. I said it above that I find it uncanny how much my astrological sign fits me, so you think I’d be more open minded. Maybe that’s something I need to work on.

  3. I always figured that I got ‘reverse SAD’ because I’m a winter baby, and I love winter. I mean, I love the sunshine too and bend to it like a flower, but I’m happiest when it’s cold out.

    And if we did go to astrology, whelp. Capricorn with its stern Saturn ruler suits me well enough, though apparently, I’m the ‘sane’ Capricorn.

    Anyways, can’t blame folks for looking at things from all angles, eh? 🙂

    1. Reverse SAD sounds like a good definition for it. I use to love winter, but, after living in the desert for five years I’ve changed completely. No cold overcast days for me. Scorching hot and sunny days make me happy.

  4. It’s funny, Bradley. Mostly I’m skeptical about anything I can’t see with my own eyes or can’t be proven wholly. Yet if I see anything (like my horoscope for the day) that calls it right for me, I’m like, “Whoa, maybe this there IS something to this.” lol! I’m still a little skeptical on yet another study on mood disorder causes, but I did a thorough skim through the articles looking for summer births! Oh for answers 🙂

    1. I did the same thing, Mandy, and found that the Autumn births did not connect with me at all. Kind of validated my skepticism.

  5. That’s interesting. As you are Buddhist and try to live the Eight-fold path, so do I. I know you do not believe in Boddhisattvas of the Earth, but I try to live my life as well as I can patterning it on the life of Boddhisattva Never Disparaging. In other words, I take other people’s negativity towards me, and I try not to develop a negative attitude toward them. All Buddhism aside, The season thing is kind of curious. I was born in the summer about 10 days short of the Equinox, and I am one of those that is of amazing emotional lability. If you don’t like my mood state, just wait a few, and it will change. I go through this daily. One reason I find this interesting is that many of my friends who were born in Summer also show this emotional switching. However, there is always someone out there that will entirely blow this theory out of the water. Some of the calmest people I have met were also born in summer, and some of the most emotionally labile have been born in Fall and Winter.

    Although I do read my horoscope on occasion, I am highly skeptical that your birth season, sun sign, rising sign, etc. have anything to do with temperament. I think it is much more logical that temperament and heredity combined with life experience is a much more powerful indicator of how you will behave, not the season you were born in. They are also moving closer to genetic theories of predisposition to mental issues. Basically, the path is laid out by your genetics, and some type of external stressor triggers it (or not). Sometimes, mental illness happens all on it’s own with no rhyme or reason. In my case, my paternal grandmother had manic depression which laid the genetic path out for me, and there are other depressives on both sides of the family. Taking a mental health “pedigree” (kind of like a family tree of affective disorders) is a much stronger indicator of whether you will develop a mental health issue. Not whether you are a Gemini or a Cancer or a Leo (the 3 major summer birth signs.) It is still an interesting proposition. Maybe we are more emotional because it is hot during the summer, and that’s we get agitated. 🙂

    1. I understand. As I said, I’m extremely skeptical about many things, but I think I’m respectful of other peoples beliefs. At least I always try to be.

      1. I am too, and it seems to be increasing along with my age 🙂 Things I would have believed 20-25 years ago definitely get called into question now. But, if you want to practice Zoroastrianism, I say go for it, whatever works for you. Whatever keeps you grounded is what you do, and it is not my place to say yay or nay. I just try to keep an open mind.

        It is good to question. You learn more that way 🙂

  6. I absolutely get this. Seasons can cause changes not only in mood, but also in the energy level, sleeping, eating, social and sexual behavior. That’s why Valentine’s Day was invented to celebrate the passion of spring!

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