A program for water-intoxicated patients at a state hospital. Article

Cosgray, R, Davidhizar, R, Giger, JN et al. (1993). A program for water-intoxicated patients at a state hospital. . CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST, 7(2), 55-61. 10.1097/00002800-199303000-00004

cited authors

  • Cosgray, R; Davidhizar, R; Giger, JN; Kreisl, R


  • During normal circumstances, individuals have a delicate balance of water requirement and water intake. If the balance of water is altered, electrolyte imbalance can occur. If fluid intake continues uncurbed, an extreme condition may result known as self-induced water intoxication and psychoses. If untreated, complications may develop, including dilated and hypotonic bowel and bladder, hydronephrosis, renal failure, congestive heart failure, mild confusion, acute delirium, seizures, coma, and death. The ongoing problem of water intoxication presents a modern day nursing challenge to psychiatric nurses. The present study monitors nine chronically ill patients in a special program for water intoxication involving control and monitoring and a psychoeducational group approach in a closed unit of a state hospital. At the end of 3 months serum electrolytes, serum osmolality, and urine specific gravity were within normal limits since the start of the program. Anxiety, as evidenced by restlessness, pacing, increased talking, demanding behavior, hyperactivity, yelling, and irritability, had lessened. This improvement was accompanied by a stabilization of psychotic behavior. The use of restraints dropped from 1303 hr in the 3 months before the program to 20 hr and 55 min for the nine patients in the first 3 months of the program. Progress in relation to the study hypothesis will be evaluated every 3 months.

publication date

  • January 1, 1993

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 55

end page

  • 61


  • 7


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