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Case Reports in Psychiatry - Volume 2016 2016, Article ID 8702483, 3 pages -

Case Report

Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal, 7331 Hochelaga, Montreal, QC, Canada H1N 3V2

Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7

Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, 1560 Sherbrooke East, Montreal, QC, Canada H2L 4M1

Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, 3001 12e avenue Nord, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada J1H 5N4

Received 22 February 2016; Accepted 31 March 2016

Academic Editor: Erik Jönsson

Copyright © 2016 Stéphane Potvin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several case reports have described stories of schizophrenia patients reporting no discomfort in response to several medical conditions which normally elicit pain. Comparatively, experimental studies performed on pain perception in schizophrenia have not documented hypoalgesic responses that are as frank as those reported in these clinical cases. Here, we report the case of a female patient with schizoaffective disorder, who displayed markedly reduced pain perception during an experimental heat pain paradigm. Compared to a large group of healthy volunteers that we tested in 3 previous studies using the same psychophysical procedure, the experimental temperature required to induce moderate pain was radically increased in this patient -score = 3.6. The patient had mild psychiatric symptoms and had insight into her symptoms. She had drug-induced dyskinetic symptoms. This case report illustrates that it is possible to observe marked reductions in pain perception in schizophrenia patients tested in experimental settings but that the phenomenon is relatively rare. Regardless of the exact nature of pain indifference in schizophrenia, it can delay diagnosis and treatment of medical problems in these patients. Future studies in the field will need to pay attention to drug-induced extrapyramidal symptoms.

Author: Stéphane Potvin, Emmanuel Stip, and Serge Marchand



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