Political events can take a serious toll on mental health - at least in one case. A man with a brief episode of acute psychosis convinced a doctor it was triggered by the 2016 Referendum on Brexit--the process of the UK leaving the European Union (EU), which it joined in 1993.

The doctor describes the case of a middle aged man, brought to hospital by paramedics in an acute psychotic state, three weeks after the June 2016 Referendum result on the UK's departure from the EU.  The patient was confused and very agitated, with disordered thoughts and speech. He heard voices and was delusional. And he was paranoid, believing people were spying on him and planning to kill him, and that radio/TV discussions were targeted at him.

His wife explained that since the Referendum result he had found it increasingly difficult to come to terms with the nature of political events around him. He became increasingly worried about racially motivated incidents and found it difficult to sleep, she said.

Despite being prescribed drugs to alleviate his agitation and insomnia, his mental health continued to worsen to the point that he needed urgent hospital treatment. He was admitted to a psychiatric unit, given a tranquilizer (lorazepam) to calm him down, and prescribed an antipsychotic (olanzapine) for about three weeks.

He made a full recovery and was discharged home after two weeks. He has had no further episodes up to the date of his last check-up in June 2019. There was no history of mental ill health in his family. But in the run-up to the Referendum, he had experienced work and family pressures, both of which may have contributed to the deterioration in his mental health, notes the author.

This is just one case that applies to particular circumstances. Nevertheless, precipitating stressful life events occur in up to half of those diagnosed with an acute bout of psychosis, the doctor points out.

Similar surveys in the UK after the Referendum result showed that Brexit was one of the major sources of anxiety among the young. The World War II generation is likely taking it with a little more resolve.