Chennai

12-year-old treated for rare psychiatric condition

A 12-year-old girl from Mauritius was treated for a rare psychiatric condition at Kauvery Hospital recently.

The girl was suffering from conversion disorder, a condition in which the body’s emotional and psychological stressors are converted to physical symptoms that cannot be explained neurologically or medically.

The girl was unable to open her eyelids for eight months. Doctors diagnosed it as an indication of functional neurologic symptom disorder or conversion disorder, belonging to the subtype of psychogenic blepharospasm.

“The child was flown to centres in Mumbai and Chennai for diagnosis. Later, she was referred to our hospital and was diagnosed with the condition, and appropriate treatment was initiated,” said Yamini Kannappan, a consultant psychiatrist at the hospital.

A detailed psychometric evaluation of the child led to the condition being diagnosed as a case of bilateral psychogenic blepharospasm, a condition in which the orbicularis muscles undergo spasmodic contraction, resulting in abnormal twitching of the eyes. It can last for a few seconds or go on for minutes. In some cases, the eyes may remain shut for hours.

A team of specialists, led by Dr. Yamini, began therapy. The girl was given functional electrical stimulation and psychological support. Within two days, the girl could open her eyes.

The hospital’s executive director, Aravindan Selvaraj, said, “Providing timely diagnosis and accurate treatment has been the aim of our hospital. This rare case was successful because of the right diagnosis and treatment.”

The child could have suffered permanent impairment if she was not treated, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:36:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/12-year-old-treated-for-rare-psychiatric-condition/article33225292.ece

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