The case of a patient with a first presentation psychotic episode secondary to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) is presented. While psychiatric symptoms are considered a prominent feature of vCJD, they may precede characteristic neurological symptoms, which can delay diagnosis. The psychotic symptoms in this case differed in quality from typical psychotic presentations, which could have helped with earlier diagnosis. The patient’s symptomatology suggested that errors in cognition and perception were largely contributing to his psychiatric symptoms. These errors appeared to be the result of prion destruction of relevant brain structures that may either be directly or secondarily involved in psychiatric disorders. The findings in this case can help elucidate how vCJD symptoms deviate from established guidelines for diagnosing primary psychiatric disorders.
NS PATNIYOT: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX
IR PATNIYOT: Department of Pediatric Neurology and Developmental Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Please send correspondence to: Nicholas S. Patniyot, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1941 East Road, Suite 3206, Houston, TX 77054 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).