Isolated high-altitude illness – a new mental illness

In Austria described a mental illness, found only in climbers.

Psychiatrists and the Medical University of Innsbruck , together with colleagues from Eurac Research (Bolzano) analyzed several mental episodes on extreme altitude and described a new disease – isolated high-rise psychosis or psychosis climber. Detailed results were published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

We are talking about the “phenomenon of a third person” and other sound, visual and olfactory hallucinations, which were previously blamed on organic causes. They occur along with severe headaches, dizziness, balance disorder, often accompanying high-altitude cerebral edema.

However, the study researchers found that there are a number of purely psychotic symptoms that are associated with being extreme height, but not reduced to certain organic causes (fluid loss, infection, organic diseases). The alleged aggravating factor is the lack of oxygen. If a person leaves the hazard zone height of more than 7 thousand above sea level, the symptoms of psychosis climber completely disappear without any consequences.