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Phenomenology and treatment of psychotic disorders in the psychiatric emergency service

Phenomenology and treatment of psychotic disorders in the psychiatric emergency service

Psychiatric Clinics of North America 22(4): 735-754

The emergency evaluation of a psychotic patient calls on all of the skills of the psychiatrist. The immediate control of dangerous behavior takes place at the same time that clinicians evaluate patients for delirium. A screening physical examination, a brief mental status examination, and a high index of suspicion for medical diseases are essential tools in the first few minutes of a patient's stay in the psychiatric emergency service. Drugs of abuse are often part of a patient's presentation. Here, too, the first task is to rule out delirium, particularly from sedative or alcohol withdrawal. As soon as a patient's condition is stabilized, the psychiatrist should review all of the available information, develop a working diagnosis, and initiate definitive treatment of the presumed disorder. With fewer emergency patients being hospitalized and with shorter lengths of hospital stay, these initial decisions acquire increasing significance for patient outcome.

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Accession: 046973501

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PMID: 10623968

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