Dr. Deepan Singh “unpacks” anxiety in individuals with PWS at ‘A Bright Future’ conference

June 5, 2019

Latham Centers and the Mac Pact co-hosted a dynamic one-day conference entitled Prader-Willi Syndrome: A Bright Future last weekend in Connecticut. Approximately 120 parents, guardians, and professionals attended, and a variety of PWS specialists spoke about their experiences and areas of expertise. We will share additional conference highlights in upcoming blogs; today, we focus on Dr. Deepan Singh:

In Dr. Singh’s presentation entitled, “Defining Anxiety in Prader-Willi Syndrome: Unpacking a Diagnostic Dilemma,” he discussed the distinction of features in PWS including behavioral (i.e., skin-picking, aggression), developmental (i.e., intellectual disability), and psychiatric comorbidities (i.e., ADHD, psychotic episodes). He explained where anxiety fits in the above features, as it’s hard to categorize within the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) constraints, yet is not OCD. His descriptive slide on anxiety in PWS states, “Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorder due to PWS with OCD-like symptoms, hoarding symptoms, and skin-picking symptoms.” Dr. Singh’s presentation concluded with a synopsis of the most commonly utilized medications, and with these talking points:

  • Currently, SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics: most frequently utilized

  • Both are associated with metabolic syndrome

  • PWS is the most common genetic cause of obesity

  • Prevention of metabolic syndrome is paramount

  • Psychosis in patients with PWS who are prescribed SSRIs

  • Stimulants—worsen mood, irritability, and chronic use may lead to an increase in skin picking

  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) has demonstrated efficacy in reducing skin-picking behavior

We thank Dr. Singh for unpacking this important conversation about anxiety in individuals with PWS.

More about Deepan Singh, MD:

Dr. Deepan Singh is a psychiatrist practicing at the NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, NY. He holds board certifications in General Psychiatry as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Singh is the Associate Dean of Students and Diversity at NYU Long Island School of Medicine. As the only psychiatrist who is part of the PWS program at NYU Winthrop Hospital, he has had an opportunity to treat a myriad of behavioral manifestations of the disease. Ranging from mild attention-deficit to severe aggression and psychosis, he has helped treat PWS patients across the very wide spectrum of clinical presentation. He has published on the occurrence of cycloid psychosis in PWS and is the first to report on the use of Guanfacine extended release in the management of behavioral problems associated with PWS.

Dr. Singh has the unique curiosity of a researcher along with a very diverse clinical background. He currently has a Foundation for Prader-Willi Research funded grant exploring the impact of Guanfacine on aggression and self-injury in PWS. He is a Scientific Grant Reviewer for the Foundation for Prader Willi Research as well as a Scientific Review Board Member for the Prader Willi Syndrome Association of the USA. Dr. Singh has multiple peer-reviewed publications. His work has been widely recognized and he has been invited to present in multiple national meetings. In his career as a psychiatrist, Dr. Singh has gained expertise in a wide variety of treatment modalities, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and psychopharmacology, applied to all ages and across the disease spectrum.

Submitted by Katrina Fryklund, Director of National Outreach (also pictured in the photo collage with Dr. Singh)