When the term "psychogenic polydipsia" is used, it implies that the condition is caused by mental disorders. However, the dry mouth is often due to phenothiazine medications used in some mental disorders, rather than the underlying condition.
Some forms of primary polydipsia are explicitly characterized as nonpsychogenic.
Patients have been known to seek fluids from any source possible.
In extreme episodes, the patient's kidneys will be unable to deal with the fluid overload, and weight gain will be noted.
If the patient is institutionalised, close monitoring by staff is necessary to control fluid intake.
In treatment-resistant polydipsic psychiatric patients, regulation in the inpatient milieu can be accomplished by use of a weight-water protocol. First, base-line weights must be established and correlated to serum sodium levels. Weight will normally fluctuate during the day, but as the water intake of the polydipsic goes up, the weight will naturally rise. The physician can order a stepped series of interventions as the weight rises. The correlation must be individualized with attention paid to the patient's normal weight and fluctuations, diet, comorbid disorders (such as a seizure disorder) and urinary system functioning. Progressive steps might include redirection, room restriction, and increasing levels of physical restraint with monitoring. Such plans should also include progressive increases in monitoring, as well as a level at which a serum sodium level is drawn.
It is important to note that the majority of psychotropic drugs (and a good many of other classes) can cause dry mouth, but this is not to be confused with true polydipsia in which a dangerous drop in serum sodium will be seen.
Primary polydipsia often leads to institutionalization as it can be very difficult to manage outside the inpatient setting.
Psychogenic polydipsia is a type of polydipsia described in patients with mental illnesses and/or the developmentally disabled. It is present in a subset of people with schizophrenia. These patients, most often with a long history of illness, exhibit enlarged ventricles and shrunken cortex on MRI, making the physiological mechanism difficult to isolate from the psychogenic.
While psychogenic polydipsia is usually not seen outside the population of those with serious mental disorders, it may occasionally be found among others in the absence of psychosis, although there is no extant research to document this other than anecdotal observations. Such persons typically prefer to possess bottled water that is ice cold, consume water and other fluids at excessive levels, and may be falsely diagnosed as suffering from diabetes insipidus, since the excessive, chronic ingestion of water can produce symptoms and diagnostic results that mimic mild diabetes insipidus.
Psychogenic polydipsia is also observed in some nonhuman patients.
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