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Coridon J. Quinn, Uroghupatei P. Iyegha, Greg J. Beilman, Frank B. Cerra
Am J Case Rep 2012; 13:69-71
Background: Psychogenic polydipsia is prevalent amongst psychiatric patients, but less common in the general population. Generally, hyponatremia ensues with complications of cerebral edema resulting in confusion, seizures, coma, and death. Rapid correction of serum sodium levels can lead to further complications of osmotic demyelination of neurons, e.g. central pontine myelinolysis.
Case Report: We present a case of a 32-year-old male who presented with seizures while being treated at a drug rehabilitation facility. He was discovered to be hyponatremic secondary to suspected psychogenic polydipsia. The patient impressively responded to treatment of fluid restriction and desmopressin and symptoms improved.
Conclusions: Among the causes of hyponatremia, psychogenic polydipsia may be more difficult to diagnose especially if an apparent psychiatric condition is not present. Current literature supports cautious correction of hyponatremia to prevent complications. However, rapid corrections may be driven by the physiology of the patient and may not be avoidable. Fortunately, our case illustrates rapid, positive outcomes for the patient.