An Unusual Case of Acute Psychosis With Obsessive-Compulsive Features Following Arsenic Poisoning

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Abstract

Arsenic exposure, particularly the chronic type, can lead to poisoning with manifestations presenting in multiple organ systems. However, acute psychosis is not a commonly described manifestation of arsenic exposure. In this report, we present the case of a patient who developed acute psychosis with hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms following chronic occupational arsenic exposure. The patient was treated with the combination of an antipsychotic and an antidepressant and he responded well with significant improvement in both the acute psychosis and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The authors concluded that patients can develop atypical symptoms, including acute psychosis, following arsenic poisoning. In the case described in this report, the patient also presented with a new onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Given this rare manifestation of arsenic poisoning for which there is no clearly defined treatment regimen, this case suggests that the use of a combination of an antipsychotic and an antidepressant may be considered in the rare event of psychosis with obsessive-compulsive features following arsenic poisoning.

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