Mental Health in PWS
Mental health and behavioral problems are a significant challenge for many individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and can have a significant impact on quality of life and independence for both the person with PWS and their family. People with PWS are at a higher risk of developing depression, bipolar disorder and psychotic symptoms particularly while in their teens and young adulthood. Below, we will share how to identify changes in mental health, where you can go to get help and how to begin treatment, along with special considerations for people with PWS.
What Should You Look For?
Look for changes in the person from their usual behaviors (their baseline):
- Eating – less interest in food, consuming less food than usual
- Behavior – more agitation or aggression, more talkative or more withdrawn than usual (spending more time alone, less willing to engage in activities they previously enjoyed)
- Sleep – sleeping less, or a change in sleep pattern (up more at night or earlier in the morning, more napping)
- Grooming – loss of interest in self-grooming (not changing clothes, brushing hair or teeth, showering)
If the above changes in usual behavior are not related to physical illness and have continued for more than 1-2 weeks, take the person with PWS for an assessment.