Anorexia nervosa and Wernicke Korsakoff's syndrome: atypical presentation by acute psychosis

Int J Eat Disord. 2010 Dec;43(8):766-9. doi: 10.1002/eat.20783.


A 16-year-old girl was admitted to the emergency department because of acute changes in mental state such as paranoid and nihilistic delusions, confabulations, and distortions of body schema perception. Her history was compatible with anorexia nervosa in that she had lost more than 17 kg in weight over one and a half years. Her body mass index was 14. She was diagnosed with Wernicke Korsakoff's syndrome and was given intravenous thiamine at 250 mg/day. Response was dramatic for nystagmus and gait incoordination but not for other symptoms. After dosage was increased to 750 mg/day all symptoms including psychosis improved. With her increase in food consumption, secondary deterioration was observed and diagnosed as refeeding syndrome. After proper replacements she was completely normal in the 9th month, and her weight was 55 kg. This patient was interesting for the presenting symptoms (psychosis), and improvement by high doses of thiamine replacement, and also for refeeding syndrome during this period.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diet therapy*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korsakoff Syndrome / complications*
  • Korsakoff Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications*
  • Psychotic Disorders / diet therapy
  • Thiamine / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Vitamins
  • Thiamine