Father has a psychotic episode 'triggered by the EU referendum'

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Britain records its first case of 'Brexit psychosis': Father is sectioned and tranquilised after he told doctors that vote to leave the EU left him 'paranoid and ashamed to be British' The man, from Nottingham, was taken to A&E while confused and paranoid His wife said he was struggling to come to terms with the political landscape He became so deluded he needed to be sedated and sectioned for treatment In a first-person account he said parts of the phase were like vivid daydreams

By Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 23:30 BST, 1 October 2019 | Updated: 23:32 BST, 1 October 2019


A father had the first known case of Brexit-triggered psychosis, a psychiatrist revealed yesterday.

The patient, in his forties, was so ill following the referendum he tried to burrow out of hospital with his bare hands.

He even feared that one of his wife's relatives was going to shoot him with a heat-seeking missile.

The patient heard voices in his head, suffered hallucinations and delusions, was increasingly worried about racial incidents and said he was ashamed to be British following the 2016 poll. 

The man, who was unidentified in the case report, said he felt 'ashamed to be British' and that he lived in an area which didn't represent him. His mental illness developed within three weeks of the EU referendum on June 23, 2016 (stock image)

The man, who was unidentified in the case report, said he felt 'ashamed to be British' and that he lived in an area which didn't represent him. His mental illness developed within three weeks of the EU referendum on June 23, 2016 (stock image)

The patient from Nottingham, whose anonymity has been protected, said: 'I was looking at the electoral map of voting for the EU. I am in a constituency that reflects an opinion that is not for me.'

All but one council area of Nottinghamshire voted Leave.

He was eventually diagnosed with acute and transient psychotic disorder (ATPD) – a mental illness characterised by a sudden onset of symptoms and complete recovery within three months.

In a report of the case published yesterday, his psychiatrist, Dr Mohammad Zia Ul Haq Katshu, said it was 'the first case of ATPD precipitated by Brexit'.


Acute and transient psychotic disorder (ATPD) is characterised by the onset of delusions, hallucinations and 'severe disruption of ordinary behaviour' that do not continue into the longer-term. 

These symptoms can develop quickly - within weeks - and recovery can be similarly rapid. Temporary breakdowns only happen to between four and 10 people per 100,000 each year.

Usually complete recovery can be reached within a few months, often within a few weeks or even days.

It is defined in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO).

If the disorder persists for longer, it would require a change in classification.

WHO says it may or may not be linked to stressful events preceding the onset of symptoms by one to two weeks.

Acute schizophrenia-like psychotic disorder is a sub-category of ATPD.

According to WHO, it is diagnosed when the psychotic symptoms justify a diagnosis of schizophrenia but have lasted less than a month.

Symptoms which persist longer would change the diagnosis to schizophrenia.

Psychosis can be triggered by a pre-existing mental health condition, such as schizophrenia, extreme stress, physical health conditions, such as malaria or a brain tumour, or substance misuse.

Anti-psychotic medicines are usually recommended as the first treatment, the NHS says.

They work by blocking the effect of dopamine, a chemical that transmits messages in the brain.

While they may reduce anxiety within a few hours, it could take several days or weeks to have an effect on symptoms such as hallucinations.

Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, Dr Katshu added: 'His wife reported that since the EU referendum results were declared on 24 June 2016, he started spending more time putting his thoughts across on social media.

'He found it difficult to reconcile with the political events happening around him. He became

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