Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Mental Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Great Recession of 2008 Triggered More Than Financial WoesGenetic Variations Impacting Empathy Tied to Psych IssuesEarly Periods Tied to Mental Health Issues Into AdulthoodGender Minorities Have Greater Mental Illness, DisabilityPets Provide Support to People With Mental Health ConditionsPets Good Medicine for Those Battling Mental IllsLimited Evidence for Effect of Cranial Electrical StimulationVirtual Reality-Based CBT Beneficial for Psychotic DisordersAutism, Bipolar and Schizophrenia Share Genetic SimilaritiesSubstantial Unmet Need for Mental Health Care for VeteransMental Health Care Access Differs With Race, InsuranceVA Health System Failing on Mental Health Care: ReportSevere Bullying Tied to Mental Health Woes in TeensMore Sought Mental Health Specialty Care in 2008 to 2015'Mountain Madness' Found to Be a Real PsychosisHealth Tip: Stay WellTaking Your Meds? A Digital Pill Can TellFDA OKs First 'Digital Pill' That Lets Doctors Know It's Been TakenIs Too Much Time Online Raising Suicide Risk in Teen Girls?Childhood Spanking Could Heighten Adult Mental Health WoesSurgical Residents Prime Candidates for Stress, Depression, Alcohol AbuseMedical License Questions Sway Doctors' Mental Health HelpAmericans More Open About Mental Health Issues, But Stigma LingersNarrow Networks in ACA Marketplace for Mental HealthHurricanes' Toll on Mental Health Will LingerER Visits for These 3 Health Woes Don't Have to HappenPreventive Psychological, Educational Programs BeneficialPsychosocial Intervention App Feasible in Serious Mental IllnessHealth Tip: Mental Disorders Are CommonNearly 1 in 5 U.S. Adults Has Mental Illness or Drug ProblemHalf of Opioid Prescriptions Go to People With Mental IllnessPsychological Risks Higher in Atopic Dermatitis PatientsSAMHSA: 9.8 Million U.S. Adults Have Serious Mental IllnessNearly 10 Million U.S. Adults Suffer From Mental IllnessSuicide Risk Is High for Psychiatric Patients Long After Discharge From CareStreptococcal Throat Infection Linked to Mental DisordersMental Health Myths Abound in the U.S.Care Access Worsening for Adults With Psychological DistressJust 1 in 5 Mentally Ill Women Gets Cervical Cancer ScreeningsAnxious? Distressed? You're Not AlonePast Psychiatric Disorders Do Not Raise Risk of Alzheimer's DiseasePast Psychiatric Ills Don't Raise Alzheimer's Risk: StudySelf-Harm Can Be a Harbinger of SuicideClimate Change May Cloud Americans' Mental Health: ReportU.S. Soldier in Custody Following Slaying of 5 Americans in Iraq
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Anxiety Disorders
Bipolar Disorder
Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Eating Disorders

'Mountain Madness' Found to Be a Real Psychosis

HealthDay News
by -- Randy Dotinga
Updated: Jan 5th 2018

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Jan. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The "madness" mountain climbers often experience isn't a type of altitude sickness, as once thought, but rather an actual psychotic disorder, a new study suggests.

The study authors explained that mountaineers can suddenly lose touch with reality. Some believe they're being chased. Others start talking to an imaginary person, or talk without making any sense.

Now, researchers have given this common phenomenon a definition and a name: isolated high-altitude psychosis.

"In our study, we found that there was a group of symptoms which are purely psychotic," said co-author Hermann Brugger, head of the Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine in Italy, part of Eurac Research. These symptoms are not linked to brain swelling at high altitude or other problems like fluid loss or infections, he explained in a news release from the research center.

Isolated high-altitude psychosis appears to be most common when climbers are higher than 7,000 meters (about 23,000 feet, or 4.35 miles) above sea level, the study found. Its cause remains unknown, but the researchers believe that lack of oxygen and simply being completely dependent on oneself could trigger it.

The cure: Come down the mountain. Symptoms then go away, without any signs of lasting damage.

The researchers drew their conclusions from information collected on about 80 cases of psychosis, primarily from writings about mountain climbing in Germany.

According to study co-author Katharina Hufner, of University Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, "This discovery has allowed us to make a more thorough investigation of temporary psychoses in otherwise completely healthy people -- an investigation which might yield important indications for the understanding of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia."

And, she added, "There are probably unknown numbers of unreported accidents and deaths caused by psychoses. To reduce the number of such accidents, it is of the greatest importance to disseminate cognitive coping strategies which the mountaineers themselves, or with the help of their partners, can apply directly while on the mountain."

More information

The National Safety Council has more about outdoor safety.