Cancer is commonly perceived as life-threatening and universally stressful; however, brief psychotic disorder, which occurs in response to extremely stressful events, has not been reported.
A 63-year-old woman, who was diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer with liver metastasis, became unresponsive with very little reaction to verbal contact after sequential life-threatening events, such as thrombosis of both pulmonary arteries and stenosis of the third portion of the duodenum, due to disease progression over 3 weeks beginning with oncological emergency hospital admission. Laboratory findings and electroencephalography were unremarkable. She maintained the position when the psycho-oncologist raised her hand (catalepsy). She had no medical history of psychiatric illness, or alcohol or drug abuse. From these findings, she was suspected of having a brief psychotic disorder with catalepsy and substupor, and 2.5 mg of haloperidol was administered. Her psychiatric symptoms disappeared in 4 days and the diagnosis of brief psychotic disorder was confirmed.
Brief psychotic disorders can manifest in patients with cancer. Careful clinical assessment is needed to correctly diagnose patients with cancer who develop brief psychotic disorders and to identify those who will benefit from correct treatment.
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- A case report of brief psychotic disorder with catalepsy associated with sequential life-threatening events in a patient with advanced cancer
- BioMed Central