Psychiatric disorders in a cohort of individuals with Prader–Willi syndrome

L. Shriki-Tal, H. Avrahamy, Y. Pollak, V. Gross-Tsur, L. Genstil, H. J. Hirsch, F. Benarroch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background Psychiatric manifestations in Prader–Willi Syndrome (PWS) are common and often are the most debilitating problem in these individuals. We present an epidemiological nation-wide survey of psychiatric diagnoses in the PWS population, based on full-range psychiatric interviews. Methods We studied the distribution of psychiatric diagnoses (as opposed to a symptom-based approach) in the Israel national cohort of adolescents and adults with PWS. There was a total of 53 (32 males) ages 12 years and older. All individuals and their caretakers were interviewed using standardized psychiatric questionnaires. Demographic and clinical variables, Clinical Global Impression (CGI) score, IQ, severity of hyperphagia and quality of life (QOL) were also assessed and correlations with NPD (number of psychiatric diagnoses) calculated. Results An overwhelming majority (89%) of the study participants had at least one psychiatric diagnosis. The most common were disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) (68%), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) (45%) and skin picking (35%). Individuals with DBD were at increased risk for OCD and skin picking. Psychotic disorders were found in 11%. NPD had a significant negative influence on QOL. There was no correlation between NPD and BMI, IQ, hyperphagia severity, hormonal profile or genetic subtypes. Conclusions Psychiatric diagnoses are very frequent in PWS and strongly influence QOL. Furthermore, characterizing the profile of psychiatric comorbidity in PWS is crucial for planning effective interventions. Precise behavioral phenotyping in PWS in combination with a well-defined genetic etiology may aid biological research linking biological correlates to behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS


  • Behavior
  • Prader–Willi syndrome
  • Psychiatry


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