What Is A Psychiatric Emergency?

It sounds somewhat odd to say you want to visit an ER near you for a psychiatric emergency. Mental health issues do not come across as problems that constitute an emergency. Can depression make you go to an emergency clinic near you? Most likely not. However, there are psychiatric emergencies. You may have taken someone to an emergency room near you for one unknowingly. In this article, we will discuss what they are so that you can identify them.

A psychiatric emergency is a sudden and dangerous disturbance of one’s behavior or mood that can lead to harm to the individual or the society. A psychiatric emergency can put other people around at risk and this is a clear difference from other medical emergencies. There’s hardly a better way to describe psychiatric emergencies than by giving relatable examples. Let’s see these examples.

Suicidal attempts

Any attempt by an individual to harm themselves should always be treated as a psychiatric emergency. Such people need to be taken to an emergency room immediately. How do you know a suicide attempt? Of course, you might see a person about to pull the trigger of a gun to their temple or tighten a noose around their neck. However, there are other things you may not take seriously. When a person says that they are thinking about or want to kill themselves, it is a psychiatric emergency. This happens a lot on the internet. If you stumble on an internet search on ‘how to attempt suicide by someone you know, take the necessary steps. That person needs to visit an ER near you. Some people will give away their belongings or make a will for no obvious reason. Consider suicidal ideation a possibility.

Most people who commit suicide or attempt to have mental health challenges. Depression comes top on this list, followed by alcohol abuse and schizophrenia. Suicide is commoner in men than women although more women attempt it. Unemployment is another risk for suicide. People who are battling with other medical conditions are also at risk of suicide. Bad life events can also lead to suicides- the death of a loved one, divorce, financial issues, and other problems.

At the ER in Lake Jackson, the individual will be assessed by a psychiatrist. The next course of action will be discussed soon after and treatment can begin.

Violent Behaviour

A person displaying aggressiveness and violence poses a risk to others in society. They may start fires or destroy property. They can threaten others around them with weapons. Some threaten to kill people online. These behaviors constitute a psychiatric emergency and must be treated as such. The risk of such behaviors is high in societies where there is easier access to firearms and alcohol/drug abuse. Certain psychiatric and medical disorders can also increase risk. These are schizophrenia, dementia, mania, personality disorders, head injury, seizure disorders, hypo/hyperthermia among many others.

Some signs predict an impending assault. These include anger, a loud voice, staring eyes, flared nostrils, flushed face, hands clenched or gripping weapons. At the ER, the person will be sedated to bring things under control before the psychiatric assessment is conducted.

Substance Intoxication And Withdrawal

Alcohol and cocaine are common culprits. They can lead to violent behavior in the intoxicated individual. Withdrawal happens as a result of the inability to access these drugs after one is heavily dependent on them. In the ER, physical restraints or sedation may be necessary. Sometimes, people overdose on prescribed psychoactive drugs. The moment any unusual actions are noticed, get down to the ER.

When going to the ER for a psychiatric emergency, take things like the suicide note or medication bottle that was overdosed on. Psychiatric emergencies can be frightening and overwhelming. But you can rest assured that the medical personnel at the ER are professionals who know how to handle these cases.