What psychological problems or issues do astronauts experience during spaceflight, that are caused by microgravity, background "white noise" or other unusual environments that astronauts in space are exposed to?

I'm particularly interested in astronauts returning from the ISS.

  • $\begingroup$ Related: space.stackexchange.com/q/8795/58 $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Aug 8 '18 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ I've adjusted your wording a little bit, but I think the question is unchanged. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 9 '18 at 1:04
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    $\begingroup$ Forgetting about gravity: youtube.com/watch?v=PVxaL8CAO4M (unsure if staged for humorous purposes, also unsure if this qualifies as "psychological") $\endgroup$ – Magic Octopus Urn Aug 9 '18 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ Not posting as an answer since you want ISS people, but Buzz Aldrin had some serious problems after Apollo 11, bad enough to get hospitalized. Whether from the post-mission let-down, 2nd man syndrome, or just fame-shock, he wrote a book about it. medium.com/@OpenRoadMedia/… $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Aug 9 '18 at 23:50
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    $\begingroup$ Information about astronauts health is a bit difficult to find as NASA tends to keep medical information private for the sake of the astronauts $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Aug 10 '18 at 15:48

The psychological effects experienced by the Apollo astronauts are well documented - check out Andy Chaikin's "A Man on the Moon" and Andrew Smith's "Moondust" for two great insights.

Chris Hadfield has also remarked that as well as physical reconditioning he's had to psychologically recondition, even to the simple acts of everyday living that were not present on orbit.

Generally speaking, astronauts are chosen based on psychological stability assessment results and trained to deal with the unusual circumstance of their job. I suspect that any significant long term negative psychological damage would be due more to the proclivity of the individual rather than it being spaceflight itself having a unique psychological effect. I suspect we just don't have enough long term data yet to say if space will make us crazy, but I wonder if there are perhaps studies done on other long term isolation scenarios such as saturation diving or remote outposts (e.g. Antarctica).


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