Restless, Dreamy, Itching To Fall In Love? You've Got Spring Fever!


Spring fever?Spring fever? Spring has arrived for most of the country, even if it's not stayed around long enough.  By May though we should all be feeling that inability to concentrate, the urge to go out and lie in the grass, to inhale the sweet orange blossoms and, for many, fall in love.  It is spring fever, to be sure.  But is it a genuine medical illness?

Huck Finn had it. "It's spring fever," he exclaimed in Tom Sawyer, Detective"And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

But what exactly is spring fever? Is it a medical phenomenon?

Dr. Jon Abramowitz, professor and associate chair of psychology at the University of North Carolina, says it's not an official medical diagnosis, but after being cooped up all winter, people are excited to get outside and do things.  That excitement may trigger the brain to release endorphins; you remember those - the body's morphine equivalents.

And more exercise is also a natural stimulant, putting us in a better mood.

Also, there is scientific data related to light and length of daylight which also explains spring fever.  Dr. Thomas Koonce, associate medical director at the University of North Carolina's Family Medicine Center, cited the studies that explain winter depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  When daylight is available for fewer hours, we have less melatonin available to our bodies.  Melatonin, a neurotransmitter, is not only important in the regulation of sleep, but it plays a role in depression, as well.

“It may be that spring fever is actually a resolution of the blues we get during the winter,” Koonce said.

As for romance, the physiological data doesn't support spring as our most fertile time of the year, but people do feel better and have more energy, so spring fever is as good an excuse as any to get flirty!


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine via


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