Lunatic  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A lunatic (colloquially: "looney") is a commonly used term for a person who is mentally ill, dangerous, foolish or unpredictable, a condition once called lunacy.

The word lunatic is borrowed from Latin "lunaticus", which gains its stem from "luna" for moon, which denotes the traditional link made in folklore between madness and the phases of the moon. This probably refers to the symptoms of cyclic mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or cyclothymia, the symptoms of which may also go through phases. As yet there is little evidence for any causal link between phases of the moon and the progression of mood disorder symptoms.

In a 1999 Journal of Affective Disorders article, a hypothesis was suggested indicating that the phase of the moon may in the past have had an effect on bipolar patients by providing light during nights which would otherwise have been dark, and affecting susceptible patients through the well-known route of sleep deprivation. With the introduction of electric light, this effect would have gone away, as light would be available every night, explaining the negative results of modern studies. They suggest ways in which this hypothesis might be tested.

Mental institutions used to be called "lunatic asylums" or colloquially, "loony bins".

In Russian, Polish and Czech, a lunatic refers to a sleepwalker, literally "one who walks under the moon" or "moon walker".

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lunatic" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools