What Causes a “JetBlue” Meltdown?

When the news of the meltdown of a JetBlue pilot hit the airwaves, people were left shaking their heads and wondering what had happened to trigger such a loss of control. However, even as friends and family speak out about how unusual his behavior was for him, psychiatric clinicians are speculating on the possible explanation for his disconnection with reality.

Psychosis and Diagnosis

There are multiple psychiatric illnesses that are characterized by odd behavior and a disconnection with reality. A psychiatric break with reality can happen at almost any age, but certain illnesses tend to occur at specific ages. For example, the onset of schizophrenia is often during the late teenage or early adult years. Additionally, schizophrenia is often characterized by disorientation, hallucinations and disorganized speech. These behaviors in an older person may be an indication of the onset of dementia.

Individuals with bipolar disorder may also exhibit similar behaviors during a manic cycle of their illness. Other symptoms of a manic episode include grandiose ideas, hyper-sexuality, overly excessive physical activity and flight of ideas. The opposite end of the mood spectrum in bipolar disorder is deep depression, which is characterized by feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, suicidality and overall low emotions.

Frequently, when someone has a psychotic break, people around the affected person may initially think that the episode occurred out of the blue. However, with hindsight, it may become clear that symptoms appeared for at least a few days, if not weeks, before the event. In fact, stress can be one of the most frequent triggers for a psychotic episode for many people. Often, when the stressor is removed, psychiatric issues resolve themselves.

– The Alternative Daily

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