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Patient in the UK: How Brexit drove a man mad


First he worries about the future. Then he feels like being watched. Finally he throws objects around him. Doctors tell how the Brexit referendum changed a patient's life rapidly.

After the majority of the British voted in favor of leaving the EU in June 2016, the life of a man is getting out of hand. First of all, he spends a lot of time in social networks, where he expresses his opinion on the political situation. He increasingly worries about possible racist attacks. The same is true of a friend in the USA with whom he exchanges ideas.

The man is sleeping worse and worse. Therefore, when he visits a doctor, this prescribes him a drug for sleep disorders and an antidepressant. But the mental state of the mid-forties continues to deteriorate in the following days. He feels persecuted, has hallucinations. For example, he is convinced that people on television and radio talk about him.

One evening he feels completely overwhelmed to select which bedtime story he should read to one of his children. Because in his head, there is a right choice in case he dies that night, and another right, if that does not happen.

Finally, he throws objects around at home.

"Escape from this place"

In this condition, he appears three weeks after the Brexit referendum in a clinic in Nottingham, UK. The doctors perceive him as excited and confused. He tries to dig his hands into the ground - "to escape from this place," he says. The man is admitted to psychiatry.


An enigmatic patientDangerous belief

Physical and neurological tests do not yield any striking findings, reports Mohammad Katshu from the Nottingham Institute of Mental Health in the journal "BMJ Case Reports". The doctors diagnose a so-called acute schizophreniform psychotic disorder.

Although the man has also had stress at work and in the family, they see the psychological stress he suffered through the Brexit referendum as an important trigger for the fortunately temporary disruption.

13 years earlier, the man had a similar episode, but was milder. At the time, the trigger was stress in the working environment.

Now the doctors give him a sedative and a drug that is supposed to counteract the psychosis of the man. The patient is recovering. Two weeks later he can leave the clinic. Gradually, he can reduce the drug dose until he finally settles the drug completely.

Source: spiegel

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