Acute Hyperglycemic Psychosis refers to a state of relative psychosis induced by a rapid spike in serum blood sugar levels. Though mothers worldwide have attested to this phenomenon for centuries, Acute Hyperglycemic Psychosis is now formally recognized by the medical community with its inclusion in the DSM-V.

Clinical PresentationEdit

It is characterized by episodes of impulsive, deviant, or hyperactive behavior that follow the consumption of refined sugars, with the addition of psychotic symptoms. This can include inappropriate voice tone or volume, excessive physical activities like running, jumping, or climbing, and sometimes increased incidence of violent or risky behaviors like hitting or biting, as well as emotional instability. An affected individual may suddenly erupt into a rage, exhibit inappropriate laughter, or experience inconsolable despair. Parents often comment that they do not recognize their child while serum levels are elevated, and that the behavior is unlike their child. In severe episodes, physicians have recorded patients who adopted entirely new personas while under the influence of sugar, but exhibited no atypical behaviors or symptoms the following day. The “high” experienced is typically followed by a glucose “crash,” a dramatic drop in blood sugar triggered by the body’s glucose-insulin response. Symptoms include sudden lethargy and drowsiness, irritability, and general malaise. While the severity of such episodes is varied, classification requires that the episodic behavior be outside the realm of behaviors considered clinically appropriate for the child’s developmental stage under normal conditions. 

Current UnderstandingEdit

This phenomenon seems to disproportionately affect children and those with a low body-mass index, though it often resolves by adulthood. It is speculated that this may be caused by relatively greater insulin sensitivity in children and diminishing insulin sensitivity toward adulthood. A glucose-induced psychosis is non-lethal, and most often will resolve itself without intervention. Frequent or prolonged spikes in blood sugar, however, can contribute to glucose intolerance and the development of diabetes. Experts believe that many children exist is a state of pseudo-elevated glucose serum levels most of the time, attributed to a diet high in refined carbohydrates and processed sugars. Parents are advised to monitor their children following the consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars, and to be watchful for any atypical, hyperactive, or dangerous behaviors. If more than four of the symptoms are regularly present following sugar consumption, parents are advised to immediately dispose of sugary foods, hide under a table, and call their pediatrician.  

caitlin lewis