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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Medical Evaluation and Triage of the Agitated Patient: Consensus Statement of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry Project BETA Medical Evaluation Workgroup


Numerous medical and psychiatric conditions can cause agitation, some of these causes are life threatening. It is important to be able to differentiate between medical and non-medical causes of agitation so that patients can receive appropriate and timely treatment. This article aims to educate all clinicians in non-medical settings, such as mental health clinics, and medical settings on the differing levels of severity in agitation, basic triage, use of de-escalation, and factors, symptoms, and signs in determining whether a medical etiology is likely. Lastly, this article focuses on the medical workup of agitation when a medical etiology is suspected or when etiology is unclear. [West J Emerg Med. 2012;13(1):3–10.]

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