The resulting political uncertainty and racism has been linked to psychosis.
A man from a self-described “multicultural” family had a florid psychosis triggered by the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a psychiatrist writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
The incident may signal wider mental health issues for ethnic minorities facing political uncertainty – a UN committee noted a sharp increase in racist hate crimes around the time of the Brexit campaign, which it said featured “divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric”.
According to the man’s wife he became increasingly preoccupied with sharing his thoughts on social media in the three weeks after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.
This was followed by worries about “racial incidents”, insomnia and a descent into psychosis, including fears he was being spied on and delusions that two different women he saw were the same person.
After being taken to the emergency department the man, in his forties, said that radio shows he heard were about him, something known as a “referential” delusion. He also believed the two ends of a maths equation came from the earth’s twin poles, called a “bizarre” delusion.
The man attempted to burrow out of the department using his hands as a digging tool.
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