n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Psychiatric emergencies, a primary care perspective : main topic

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Work in a team, and do not try to do it all on your own. Collaborate with the patient, family members, colleagues, nurses, security officers and the police. Many psychiatric emergencies need either a medical or a psychiatric referral. Psychiatric disorders cause four of the ten most disabling medical disorders in the world. Psychiatric emergencies can present dramatically or not so dramatically. A BPSP approach with an emphasis on teamwork is important. 'Dramatic' psychiatric emergencies include suicidality, psychotic episodes, major depressive disorder, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, bipolar mood disorder, homicidal or aggressive patients. 'Not so dramatic' emergencies include depressive disorders, alcohol dependence, panic attacks, delirium and caregiver burnout. Each of the abovementioned emergencies require correct and comprehensive assessment, adequate diagnosis and appropriate management. It may be necessary to commit the patient, involuntarily.

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