Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


The diagnosis o f hyponatremia can prove to be a challenging task since initial symptomatology may mimic psychiatric illness. Accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment is essential as this disorder can progress to seizures, coma and death if not recognized. Neither the true incidence nor the etiology of hyponatremia in the schizophrenic population has been established, but a definite association has been shown to exist. A recent retrospective study involving over 20,000 hospital admissions found a 5.8% incidence of hyponatremia in the schizophrenic population as compared with a 0.36% incidence for all admissions (1). The following case illustrates the features of hyponatremia and highlights the difficulties in identifying the illness in patients with schizophrenia. A discussion of the etiology, differential diagnosis and treatment follows, with the aim of increasing awareness of this potentially serious disorder.

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