[Psychiatric disorders in adults with Prader-Willi syndrome: a systematic literature review]

Tijdschr Psychiatr. 2021;63(6):432-440.
[Article in Dutch]


Background: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic syndrome characterized by dysmorphic features and endocrine, cognitive and psychiatric problems. Psychiatric problems interfere with the transition from pediatric to adult care. Psychiatric expertise is needed to facilitate this transition.

Aim: To provide a literature review on the prevalence and clinical presentation of psychiatric disorders in adults with PWS.

Method: A systematic literature review following the PRISMA-guidelines.

Results: Thirty-three articles were included. Most adults with PWS had a specific behavioral profile with disruptive, autistic and compulsive characteristics. Psychotic symptoms occured in one third of adults with PWS, mostly in patients with maternal uniparental disomy. Mood disorders were present in 10 to 20% of adults with PWS and often accompanied by psychotic features. Studies were limited and heterogeneous in samples and methods.

Conclusion: There is a broad spectrum of psychiatric symptoms in adults with PWS. The clinical presentation does not fully fit within the DSM categories and shows differences between genetic subgroups. Longitudinal studies assessing the psychiatric symptoms with standardized methods are needed to improve practices on diagnosing, prevention, and treatment.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / genetics
  • Psychotic Disorders*
  • Transition to Adult Care*