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What Caused Kanye West’s Breakdown and Hospitalization?

by
author image Hillary Eaton
Hillary Eaton is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles whose work has appeared in VICE, Refinery29, LA Weekly and Complex. She loves writing about food, entertainment, travel and style.
What Caused Kanye West’s Breakdown and Hospitalization?
Kanye West suffers from a mental breakdown. Photo Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Kanye West is no stranger to putting himself at the center of the world’s attention. From his infamous run-in with Taylor Swift to his high-profile wife, the rapper/designer/artist is constantly making news for what he does and says. But this time West has made news for something a lot more troubling — being placed under psychiatric hospitalization.

After canceling the remaining 21 concert dates of his highly anticipated Saint Pablo tour on Monday, West was taken later that day to UCLA Medical Center following a phone call from West’s private physician to the police for assistance.

LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey told USA Today that the fire department responded to “an unspecified medical aid request” in the 900 block of North Laurel Avenue. “An adult male, described as medically stable, was taken to an area hospital for further assessment.”

The hospitalization comes just days after mounting episodes of bizarre behavior from Yeezy. He interrupted one performance to talk about endorsing president-elect Donald Trump and upset audience members by telling African Americans to stop worrying about racism. He’s reportedly talked incoherently about a future world where humans won’t have to speak to communicate. Then he walked off the stage after only three songs.

With West’s behavior becoming increasingly erratic — even for self-absorbed narcissist like him — it appears the rapper has had friends and family worried about him for some time now. Fellow singer and friend John Legend shared with Page Six that during a recent meeting with West, the singer seemed troubled: “I was concerned by what I saw, so hopefully he’s getting some rest and some time to figure things out.”

According to TMZ, West’s doctor made the call because he was suffering from “temporary psychosis due to sleep deprivation and dehydration.” West was then placed under a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold, meaning the singer will be observed and assessed during a mandatory 72-hour lockdown in a psychiatric hospital.

West’s mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, told Extra: “He’s exhausted, he’s just really tired. He’s had a grueling tour and it’s been a grind, so he just needs some rest.” And with the amount of hours the overworked singer puts in each day — from his tour to his fashion line and collaborations — it’s not exactly a surprise.

According to Page Six, West often works up to 48 hours at a time without taking a break — a schedule priming him for a myriad psychological issues. The Journal of Neuroscience reports: “After 24 hours of sleep deprivation, healthy individuals show symptoms of psychosis similar to those observed in schizophrenia.”

According to Scientific American, not only can lack of sleep lead to psychosis, but sleep deprivation in healthy people can also begin to rewire the brain’s emotional centers, causing people’s behavior to seem erratic and unstable.

The effects of sleep deprivation on the brain are particularly important, especially when 40 percent of Americans are getting far less than the recommended daily amount. That figure, while large, is not entirely unexpected when you consider that people are spending longer and longer hours at work than ever before.

"Different people have different thresholds of erratic behavior after a period of insomnia," Dr. Monya De tells us. "Someone who also has a physical illness, someone with a lot of previous traumas, someone who is genetically predisposed to mental illness, someone who hasn't had good nutrition--all of these conditions can increase the severity of combative, unruly behavior due to lack of sleep."

But it’s not just sleep deprivation West has been struggling with. The rapper may also be dealing with the emotional effects of Kim Kardashian’s life-threatening attack in Paris this month and to the recent anniversary of his mother’s death — emotional stressors which can exacerbate an already-fragile mental state.

While West’s hospitalization has taken the world by surprise, support and well-wishes for the rapper have flooded the internet via a #PrayersForKanye thread. While West has surpassed the time required for the mandatory hospital stay, West continues to remain under psychiatric care. Hopefully, getting some much-deserved rest can help Yeezy recover, regroup and come back stronger than ever.

What Do YOU Think?

Have you ever experienced the negative effects of sleep deprivation? Do you think Kanye West suffering from psychosis is surprising? Do you get enough sleep? How do you make sure you sleep enough?

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