Political events can seriously damage mental health

October 3, 2019  20:28

Political events can cause serious damage to mental health, a doctor wrote in the BMJ Case Reports magazine after treating a person with a brief episode of acute psychosis caused by the 2016 Brexit referendum.

According to him, people who are already psychologically vulnerable may be especially at risk in such circumstances, Science Daily reported.

The doctor describes the case of a middle-aged man brought to the hospital by paramedics with an acute psychotic state, three weeks after the results of the referendum in June 2016 on Britain leaving the EU.

He was embarrassed and very excited, with erratic thoughts and speech. He heard voices and raved. He developed paranoia, as he believed that people were spying on him and planning to kill him.

His wife explained that since the referendum, it has become increasingly difficult for him to understand the nature of political events. According to him, he was increasingly worried about racial incidents, there were problems with sleep.

Despite the fact that he was prescribed medications to relieve anxiety and insomnia, his mental health continued to deteriorate to such an extent that he needed urgent treatment in a hospital. He was placed in a psychiatric ward where he was treated with tranquilizers and antipsychotics (olanzapine).

He recovered completely and was discharged home after two weeks. After this, he did not have such conditions.

There were no mental illnesses in his family. But on the eve of the referendum, he was under pressure at work and in the family, which may have contributed to the deterioration of his mental health, the author notes.

This is only one case that relates to specific circumstances. However, the doctor emphasizes that accelerating stressful events occur in half of patients with a diagnosis of ‘acute attack of psychosis’

According to him, political events can be a source of significant psychological stress, referring to polls conducted in the US after the 2016 presidential election.

The doctor believes that identifying early signs of acute and transient psychotic episodes, especially in stressful situations, is important to ensure quick treatment and recovery.

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