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Article
June 27, 1959

PANEL DISCUSSION ON PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCIES IN GENERAL PRACTICE

Author Affiliations

San Bernardino, Calif.; San Francisco; Washington, D. C.

JAMA. 1959;170(9):1022-1030. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010090012003
Abstract

In psychiatric emergencies either the patient or his family will generally demand immediate action. This pressure on the physician probably results in more mistakes than any other single factor. The state of acute anxiety or panic is unbearable, but sedatives or tranquilizers provide merely temporary relief. The better the patient's personal life is known to the physician, the more intelligently can the crisis be handled. Kindness and understanding shown by the physician will calm even highly disturbed patients in most instances. When there is evident danger of suicide, the patient should be hospitalized by persuasion or by commitment, if necessary. The psychiatrists in the community should be considered a resource to be called on when an emergency demands more psychiatric skill than the physician himself possesses. But the physician should not be hasty with either sedation or hospitalization, for they are seldom necessary when the patient's problem is recognized and the solution is offered.

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