Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Feeding Disorder as a Presentation of Maternal Schizophrenic Illness

Alicia, aged 11 months, was referred from a medical ward, where she had been admitted for investigation of poor growth, nutritional deficiencies and a fracture associated with rickets. Her mother concerned the nursing staff because of her unusually withdrawn behaviour. They could not follow her speech, which appeared illogical, nonsequential and not consistent with her apparent mood. When seen by the mental health team it was clear that Alicia’s mother was suffering from a chronic paranoid psychotic illness. Although she had previously been a patient of the local adult community mental heath team, her family had not noticed her deteriorating mental state or her incapacity to read Alicia’s signals about hunger.

Alicia herself was flat and withdrawn, but responded well to responsive care on the ward and moved back quickly to a normal growth velocity in hospital. An extensive community treatment plan was drawn up, and this included a referral to child protective services, and Alicia had a transitional period in foster care.

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