More than 16,000 psychiatrists and mental health professionals from around the world attended the 2018 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in New York last month. And in the sea of 500 scientific sessions and workshops, fourth year students Nilesh Dialani and Varun Jain proudly presented their case presentation, Coprophagia – A Rare Psychiatric Symptoms and Possible Treatment Options.
The presentation described a unique patient case that Dialani and Jain encountered during their psychiatry rotation at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, New York. A patient arrived with deteriorating symptoms—hallucinations and violent scratching—and was admitted into the acute psychiatric unit. To help stabilize his mood and behavior, the medical team administered a medication regiment but his symptoms only worsened. His scratching intensified and he began to exhibit coprophagia, or the act of eating one’s feces.
Coprophagia is a rare behavior often associated with a neurological or psychiatric disorder that can lead to oral and salivary infection. There are few published cases of coprophagia and only a handful among patients with schizophrenia. Dialani and Jain conducted thorough research to determine a new care plan to help manage their patient’s health.
Physicians and other medical professionals consulted multiple departments to choose the best course of treatment. Taking into account the patient’s comorbidities, they administered a new medication regiment consisting of Quetiapine, Risperidone, and Sertraline. The patient’s symptoms subsided and as his health improved, he was eventually discharged.
In their case report, Dialani and Jain were able to share key learnings from their encounter, including the rationale for each medication and dosage to help stabilize their patient.
“It was an amazing opportunity to present our report,” said Jain. “We were able to meet with psychiatrists from all over the world, share our experience, and take advantage of several activities that were geared toward medical students.”
While at APA, both students attended PsychSIGN, a medical student conference held in conjunction with the APA’s Annual Meeting. Designed for medical students, PsychSIGN offered residency panels, CV workshops, residency program information, and the opportunity to network with residency program directors and coordinators from across the United States.
For Dialani, who is considering a residency in psychiatry, the conferences provided great exposure.
“Psychiatry is one of the few specialties where you can notice a drastic transformation in a patient’s health within a few hours-days—I find that very captivating,” he said. “For instance, a patient who is admitted in a very acute schizophrenic state can transform after initiation of medication quite rapidly and it is incredible to witness.”
>> Discover what other research AUC students have been presenting in our spring/summer 2018 compendium