Patients with multiple sclerosis presenting to psychiatric hospitals

D. S. Pine, C. J. Douglas, E. Charles, M. Davies, D. Kahn, M. K. Popkin

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43 Scopus citations


Background: Although many neuropsychiatric syndromes are associated with multiple sclerosis, few recent studies have examined the clinical features of psychiatric illness in inpatients with multiple sclerosis. Florid psychopathology can obscure neurologic symptoms in multiple sclerosis. It is therefore important to consider the range of severe psychiatric states that can occur in multiple sclerosis and the frequency with which multiple sclerosis patients are seen in inpatient facilities. Method: We examined records for 2720 consecutive admissions to three psychiatric units and conducted a chart review comparing the DSM-III psychiatric diagnoses of patients with multiple sclerosis with those of the inpatient population as a whole. Results: The 10 patients with multiple sclerosis were significantly more likely to present with histories of mania and manic psychosis than the inpatient population as a whole. Further, 7 of the 10 patients had psychiatric hospitalizations before the multiple sclerosis diagnosis. In 4 of these 7 patients, a review of the medical record documented neurologic symptoms that were not recognized as typical of multiple sclerosis. Three of these 4 patients were psychotic and the fourth was catatonic at the time of their admissions. Conclusion: While multiple sclerosis patients account for a small proportion of all psychiatric admissions, clinicians should consider the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in patients exhibiting manic symptoms in tandem with unexplained neurologic findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-308
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


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