The psychiatric presentations of Wilson's disease

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1991 Fall;3(4):377-82. doi: 10.1176/jnp.3.4.377.


We reviewed the records of 42 patients with Wilson's disease participating in a zinc acetate treatment protocol and interviewed 17 of them. Five of the patients studied were asymptomatic. A significant number of symptomatic patients (64.8%) reported psychiatric symptoms at the time of initial presentation. These symptoms were severe enough to warrant psychiatric intervention in almost half of all symptomatic patients before the diagnosis of Wilson's disease was made. Personality changes, particularly irritability and aggression, were most commonly described (45.9%), followed by depression (27%). Cognitive changes, anxiety, psychosis, and catatonia, while less frequent, also occurred. These data underscore the need to include Wilson's disease in the differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / therapeutic use
  • Acetic Acid
  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / diagnosis*
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / psychology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / drug therapy
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / psychology
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / drug therapy
  • Personality Disorders / psychology


  • Acetates
  • Acetic Acid