A MAN in his 40s was admitted to hospital suffering an acute psychotic breakdown triggered by Brexit referendum result, it has emerged.

The man, who has not been named, was brought to A&E by paramedics three weeks after the 2016 vote experiencing hallucinations, paranoia and bizarre delusions.

He believed that people were spying on him and planning to kill him, and that radio and TV discussions were targeted at him.

His wife told doctors that he had been spending an increasing amount of time on social media following the June 24 vote and had become worried about a spike in racially-motivated attacks.

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On arrival at the emergency department he was trying to "dig the floor with his hands to ‘burrow’ through the floor to ‘get the hell out of this place’", before being transferred to an inpatient psychiatric ward.

He was diagnosed with Acute and transient psychotic disorder (ATPD), but made a full recovery within two weeks following treatment with the antipsychotic medication, olanzapine, and remains well.

He had experienced a similar, but much less severe, episode 13 years previously brought on by major work-related stress.

He had also been experiencing other stresses in the form of looking after his children and having lost some money in a failed small claims court case related to his employment in the run-up to the 2016 breakdown, which are described as possible "contributory factors" in his illness.

However, Brexit was considered to be the "primary stressor" in his case.

The patient's breakdown is detailed anonymously in a paper today, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Although the paper does not state where he is from or the hospital he was admitted to to protect the man's confidentiality, it is clear that he lived in a constituency which had voted to leave the EU - contradicting the man's own wishes.

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The man's case is the first known incidence of ATPD precipitated by Brexit, but a case of brief stress-related psychotic disorder brought on in a US patient by Donald Trump's 2016 election victory has also been reported.

The author, Nottingham-based Dr Mohammad Zia Ul Haq Katshu, said the case highlighted the dangers that political turmoil and uncertainty can pose to people with vulnerable mental health.

Dr Katshu said: "Political events can be a source of significant psychological stress.

"Surveys in the USA following the 2016 Presidential elections revealed that 66 per cent identified the future of the country as a significant source of stress and 57% felt stressed by the existing political climate.

"Similar surveys in the UK reported that Brexit—the process of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) following the June 2016 referendum—was one of the major sources of anxiety among the young."

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In a personal account of the experience, which is also published in the paper, the man describes how his thinking deteriorated in the weeks following the Brexit result.

He describes lying on top of his bed at home and becoming "convinced that one of my wife’s relatives was going to shoot a missile at me using heat seeking technology".

On another occasion in the run-up to his breakdown the man said he was "paralysed by the choice of which bedtime story I should read to one of my children because in my mind there was a right book and a wrong book depending on whether I would die that night or a subsequent night".

The man, who said he came from a multicultural family, said he began talking a lot via social media with a friend in the US who was also feeling "immense anxiety" about the political situation and racial tensions there.

He said he later became convinced he was under surveillance.

"I remember driving and hearing the radio presenters talking about me as if they could see me and knew what I was thinking," he said. "Many times, during these scenarios, I felt quite petrified."

Cases of ATPD occur in around 200 to 500 people a year in Scotland. Relapse is common.

Earlier this year, research by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland found that one in five adults reported feeling anxious or suffering high levels of stress about Brexit.

It was also a source of conflict, with one in ten people - regardless of whether they voted Remain or Leave - saying they had had an argument with a partner or family member about the result.