Jet Lag Causing or Exacerbating Psychiatric Disorders
Gregory Katz, Rimona Durst, Josef Zislin, Hilla Knobler, Haim Y. Knobler
Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center, Jerusalem (Affiliated with the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem)
Desynchronization of circadian rhythmicity resulting from rapid travel through at least 4 time zones leads to symptoms of jet lag syndrome. The most commonly experienced symptoms in normal individuals are sleep disorders, difficulties with concentrating, irritability, mild depression, fatigue, and gastrointestinal disturbances.
There is strong evidence relating affective disorders to circadian rhythm abnormalities, such as occur in jet lag. Less convincing suggestions relate jet lag to psychosis. We presume, relying on the literature and our accumulated experience, that in predisposed individuals jet lag may play a role in triggering exacerbation of, or de novo affective disorders, as well as, though less convincing, schizophreniform psychosis or even schizophrenia. An illustrative case vignette exemplifies the possible relationship between jet lag following eastbound flight and psychotic manifestations.