Polydipsia: A study in a long-term psychiatric unit

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This is a retrospective review of the author's experience with polydipsia in a long-term unit for treatment refractory patients at a US psychiatric state hospital during a 5-year period [1996-2000]. Sixty-one patients were admitted to this long-term unit, comprising approximately 1% of the hospital admissions. Polydipsic patients were followed with diurnal weight changes and other biological measures. This longitudinal study of 61 chronic inpatients suggests that polydipsia is no doubt present in at least 20% of chronic psychiatric inpatients and hyponatremia in more than 10%. Two polydipsic patients worsened when switched from clozapine to other atypical antipsychotics. Polydipsia in severe mentally ill patients continues to be a neglected subject and a challenge for psychiatrists. Polydipsic patients should not be switched to other atypical antipsychotics, unless new prospective studies prove that they are as effective as clozapine for polydipsia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-39
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
■ Acknowledgements This publication was made possible by grant number MH-51380 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health.Margaret T.Susce,R. N.,M. L. T.helped with editing of this article.


  • Nicotine
  • Polydipsia
  • Schizophrenia
  • Smoking
  • Water intoxication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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