Types of Psychiatric Emergencies: An Overview

March 27th, 2021 by

Types of Psychiatric Emergencies: An Overview

A psychiatric emergency, such as those addressed in this article, can be a difficult and often scary experience for both the individual suffering and those around them. It is important to remember that there are resources available, such as Greenbranch Recovery in New Jersey, that can provide immediate medical attention and support for those in need. In situations involving self-harm or suicide, violence, stupor and catatonic syndrome, alcohol and drug overdose, or depression, it is important to handle the situation with patience and care. Seeking proper treatment for mental health conditions and educating oneself on mental illnesses is crucial in breaking down the stigma surrounding these issues and providing support for those in need. Remember, with the right intervention and support, recovery is possible.

When an individual exhibits such anomalies, an intervention is created. It helps safeguard the patient’s life and alleviate anxiety. It also relieves the people surrounding them. Events like these require immediate medical attention and cannot be tackled by everyone. It also aids in shielding the other members who are a fragment of this condition. If you witness patients manifesting a psychiatric emergency, handle them with utmost patience and care. Refrain from indulging in any actions that might upset them further. Nuance your actions and appease the patient.


1) Suicide and self-harm

Self-harm, also known as self-injurious behavior (SIB), self-mutilation, non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), parasuicide, deliberate self-harm (DSH), self-abuse and self-inflicted violence.  Self-harm is different from suicide. Their similarities often confuse the treatment course. Most people who inflict self-harm do not even possess suicidal thoughts. The intention to commit suicide can change over time. When an individual hurts themselves multiple times, the fear of the harm makes suicide an enticing option. Many factors lead to self-harm, such as loss of a parent, childhood illness, substance abuse, childhood trauma, lack of impulse control, etc.

2) Violence

The patient can be violent to their surroundings and the people around them. They act irrationally, delusionally and can also be assaultive. If a violent psychiatric emergency ever confronts one, they must shield themselves and unarm the patient. Try to keep the doors open and restrain if needed. You can also try to assert authority, show concern and establish a rapport to compose the sufferer.

Steer clear of provoking the patient and going close to them. They are volatile at this point and aren’t reasoning. Also, avoid confronting them. Doctors also have to take significant caution before meeting such patients.

3) Stupor and catatonic syndrome

Stupor occurs when a person feels completely immobile, unable to speak, walk or function. They do not respond to stimuli.

Catatonia is a psychomotor disorder that involves the link between mental function and movement. Stupor is a symptom of catatonia. It can last for hours, months, days or even years. There are many different types of catatonia. It is triggered by psychotic disorders, bipolar disorders, depressive disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and other medical conditions.

Treating such disorders is difficult; hence, acknowledge the patient’s pain and empathize with them. Console them by tactile functions. Also, encourage group therapy and listen attentively.

4) Alcohol and drug overdose

When a person befalls a toxic cycle of intaking too many drugs/drinking alcohol, they develop an addiction. It starts as an occasional habit transcending into a full-blown addiction. Overdose can lead to several medical complications and changes in a person’s behavior. Sufferers will exhibit drowsiness, nausea, trouble in breathing, agitation, walking, enlarged pupils, convulsions and hallucinations. Rush them to a medical emergency room and try to induce vomit on the way to eliminate the drug/ alcohol from the body.

Addiction is a very destructive tendency, and one must take all precautions to rid of this nasty habit.

5) Depression

People who are depressed often feel sad, lost and angry arbitrarily. However, people exhibit symptoms individually. While some individuals can operate and live everyday life, others find it difficult to leave their rooms. It hampers their productivity and deeply affects them when the slightest thing goes awry. It is essential to seek proper treatment for depression because it builds up over time. Having a therapist on retainer helps in expressing the negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones.

Depressed people have manifestations like moodiness, anger, loss of interest in activities, thoughts of suicide, using drugs and engaging in high-risk activities.


There are several other psychiatric emergencies. People need more awareness and should broaden their horizons. Educating the masses with mental disorders and psychiatric emergencies is highly essential. Instead of sitting back and watching a person suffer, they may help save a life. They must also get away from the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.