February 1976

Hysterical Polydipsia (Compulsive Water Drinking) in Children

Author Affiliations

From the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Dr Norman), and the departments of pediatrics (Dr Norman) and medicine (Drs Kohn, Feldman, Thier, and Singer), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Dr Kohn is now with the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa; Dr Feldman is with the Department of Medicine, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh; and Dr Thier is with the Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(2):210-212. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120030100020

• Two patients had entirely different clinical presentations of hysterical polydipsia: convulsions and coma in a 5-yearold boy with intrinsic renal disease and a single kidney, and abnormal behavior in a 3-year-old girl with normal kidneys. In neither case was the correct diagnosis made on initial evaluation. Physiological studies demonstrated primary polydipsia to be responsible for both clinical presentations. The differential diagnosis of polydipsia and polyuria is reviewed, and the nonuniform presentation of hysterical polydipsia is emphasized. In children with intrinsic renal disease, hysterical polydipsia may be life-threatening.

(Am J Dis Child 130:210-212, 1976)