Last Updated on October 1, 2019
A British man in his 40s developed a serious case of psychosis following the Brexit referendum vote, suffering hallucinations and delusions as a result.
Like its Atlantic cousin, Trump Derangement Syndrome, Brexit Derangement Syndrome is often used to refer to the inability of the elite and their supporters to recognise that their side lost a significant vote.
President Trump gave an example on Twitter, arguing that sufferers of TDS would be more willing to go to war with Russia than see him succeed:
Iain Martin writing in Reaction said there were a number of questions for Remainers to ask themselves as to diagnose whether they have Brexit Derangement Syndrome or not:
Do you find yourself taking the side of Michel Barnier and Jean Claude Juncker, secretly wanting them to punish Britain, and finding this arousing? Does this spill into a vengeful desire for people who voted to leave to lose their job or be burned to a crisp in a house fire caused by a dangerously deregulated post-Brexit washing machine manufactured by leave voters in Doncaster?
Dr Mohammad Zia Ul Haq Katsu, of Nottingham University, explained that the aforementioned patient was hospitalised after the Leave campaign triumphed in 2016, in what is being called the first case of true Brexit Derangement Syndrome:
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 increasingly worried about racial incidents. His sleep deteriorated. His mental health had deteriorated rapidly following the announcement of the results, with significant concerns about Brexit. He presented as agitated, confused and thought disordered. He had auditory hallucinations, and paranoid, referential, misidentification and bizarre delusions.”
Katsu further reported that when the man was first admitted to hospital, he attempted to “burrow” through the floor, in order to “get the hell out of this place.”
The patient further added at the time that he was in a constituency that “reflects an opinion that is not for me.”
He was diagnosed with acute schizophrenia-like psychotic disorder, a category of acute and transient psychotic disorder (ATPD), characterised by an acute onset of symptoms, then complete recovery within 3 months.
The patient said that at the time of his pyschosis, an American friend was experiencing “immense anxiety” about the imminent election of President Trump. He described his experience under condition of anonymity to the media:
The best way I can describe my experiences of psychosis are as intense periods of accelerated thinking, of being distracted and consumed by my own thoughts, and of a series of theatrical episodes of which I am at the centre… I started to believe I was under surveillance. I remember hearing the radio presenters talking about me as if they could see me and knew what I was thinking.
Dr Katsu said that political events can be a “source of significant psychological stress.”