Polydipsia and schizophrenia in a psychiatric hospital: A replication study

Jose De Leon, Joseph Tracy, Eileen McCann, Amy McGrory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A prior study in a US state hospital suggested that schizophrenia, smoking and long hospitalization were associated with polydipsia. This study, in another US hospital, attempts to (1) replicate that schizophrenia and smoking are associated with polydipsia, and (2) rule out that this relationship is partly explained by alcohol and drug use. Both studies have similar methodologies. The second sample included 588 inpatients. Models of variables associated with polydipsia were developed using logistic regression. In the second study, after correcting for other factors, the association between polydipsia and schizophrenia showed a borderline significance, while polydipsia and smoking displayed a significant association. Neither organic brain lesions, nor alcohol or drug use, were associated with polydipsia. An analysis combining both samples showed that: (1) schizophrenia, long hospitalization, smoking and heavy smoking were significantly associated with polydipsia, and (2) male gender and Caucasian race (but not smoking) increased the risk of developing water intoxication in polydipsic patients. These two studies in severely mentally ill patients suggest that the association of polydipsia with schizophrenia, smoking and chronicity is consistent and independent from the definition of polydipsia (by staff, a biological method or the combination of both). Psychiatric medications do not appear to explain most cases of polydipsia in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was made possible by the collaboration of the staff of the hospital and the support of Albert R. Di Dario, Superintendent of Norristown State Hospital at that time and of Richard Jossiasen PhD Director of the Clinical Research Center. Jose de Leon's salary was partly supported by the NIH Grant MH-51380. Margaret T. Susce, R.N., M.L.T. helped with editing of this article. We would like to thank the third reviewer, whose comments led us to some new analyses, which demonstrated that using different definitions of polydipsia did not influence the results.


  • Logistic regression
  • Nicotine
  • Polydipsia
  • Schizophrenia
  • Smoking
  • Water intoxication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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