Man Diagnosed With Psychotic Disorder Induced By Brexit Chaos
Just three weeks after the Brexit vote in June 2016, a man was rushed to hospital in an acute psychotic state.
His wife told medical professionals that since the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union, her husband's behaviour has become peculiar, even worrying.
Slowly he became increasingly paranoid and was unable to sleep. Despite consulting medical professionals about his mental health, his condition continued to deteriorate.
He believed people were going to kill him, he believed programs on the radio and TV were targeted at him specifically and he heard voices talking about him. The man believed people were spying on him and he became more agitated at home.
"At work I was in the middle of an installation and I remember hearing the TV on in the background. I started to believe that I was under surveillance. I remember my ears pricking up when a voice said, 'he’s very observant,'" the man said in an article published in the BMJ Journal.
One evening he started throwing things around the house, which lead to his hospitalisation.
His paranoid behaviour continued in hospital. One day he used his bare hands to attempt to dig a hole in the floor of this room to escape.
"At one point when I was being held in a hospital interview room, I believed that we were in the basement of a tower block that was going to be pulled down in a 9/11 style attack," the man said.
"I spent the entire time studying the walls and exit doors and watching people through the narrow window in the fire door to try and work out whether they were entering or evacuating the building and if there was any hope of escape."
He also told professionals that he was ashamed to be British after the vote result was announced.
The cause of the man's seemingly sudden illness puzzled medical professionals.
Doctors investigated the man's medical history and found no background of drug or alcohol abuse, no significant physical health issues and no presence of mental health problems. He did, however, have a similar psychotic episode 13 years prior due to work-related stress, but it wasn't as severe.
After a thorough investigation, doctors determined the man had acute and transient psychotic disorder (ATPD) caused by the stress he was experiencing, which at the time was the decision for the UK to leave the European Union.
"Although there is no reported case of ATPD triggered by Brexit, a case of brief psychotic disorder precipitated by stress associated with the general election results in the USA has been reported," the journal article reads.
The man was prescribed medication and was treated by mental health professionals and slowly his condition started to improve. He was discharged from hospital two weeks later.
He was monitored by community health groups and now, three years since the vote, the man remains well despite the growing uncertainty surrounding the future of the Brexit deal.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
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