Common behavioural and psychiatric problems in Prader-Willi syndrome identified in review


This review of existing research looked at behavioural and psychiatric problems in people with Prader-Willi syndrome, a complex genetic disorder.

The review found hyperphagia (compulsively overeating over a long period) compulsions/repetitive behaviour, self-injury (especially skin-picking), and aggressive behaviours to be common in people with Prader–Willi syndrome.

The most frequently found psychiatric disorders were psychotic, affective, and obsessive–compulsive disorders.

The authors suggest that assessment should involve consideration of how such behavioural and psychiatric problems might be influenced by neuro-cognitive functioning and medical issues. They point out that assessment should be based on  understanding of the phenotype of Prader–Willi syndrome and the issues identified which impact on clinical presentation

Assessment of Behavioral and Psychiatric Problems in People With Prader–Willi Syndrome: A Review of the Literature, Spendelow J, in Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 8,2, 104–112,

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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