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Keywords:

  • Stiff-Person syndrome;
  • anorexia;
  • eating disorders;
  • depression;
  • anxiety

Abstract

Objective:

To report a case of a 35-year-old female initially treated for anorexia nervosa who was found to have Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS).

Method:

Case report.

Results:

The patient reported panic attacks at meal times that were found to consist of tetanic contractions of the axial musculature. Swallowing initiated reflexive painful muscle spasms that consequently resulted in cibophobia and significant weight loss. Her serum tested positive for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies, and she subsequently improved with appropriate treatment for SPS.

Discussion:

SPS has not been previously reported in the context of eating disorders, although it has been linked to other psychiatric disorders. Often the psychiatrist may be the first physician to diagnose SPS. We present this case to alert practitioners to the potential co-morbidity and symptom overlap between SPS and eating disorders, to aid in early recognition and appropriate treatment of this rare illness. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2011; 44:284–286)