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What is Considered a Psychiatric Emergency?

The stigma over mental health is gradually clearing up, the dark clouds are disintegrating as one anticipates a sunrise on the horizon. In the world today it has become increasingly important with each passing day to understand and empathize with mental health issues.

Every single person on the planet is fighting our demons in silence and to understand mental health is to be more kind and humble with one another.

Sudden trauma can happen at any time, the mental health version of a sudden trauma is called a  Psychiatric emergency and it is of high precedence that we enlighten more about this so that we can provide the mental equivalent of CPR to one when necessary.

What is Mental Health?

One valuable part of the body is the mind, when there are issues affecting this beautifully complicated fragment, one develops certain difficulties. Basically, mental health combines our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

How do we handle stress, how do we think and feel, how do we relate to others, how do we make our decisions, everything depends on our mental health.

Along the course of life, if one experiences a certain mental health issue, then their thinking, mood, and behavior get affected, which can become a scary thing to live with but having said that there is help available everywhere, you just need to reach out.

Prevalence of Mental Health Issues in Recent Times:

There are several studies conducted on mental health in recent times. Particularly since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been an unexpected increase in suicide rates in the past year, and clinical depression has been spreading around like a pandemic of its own.

One such study showed that suicide rates have increased from 1% to 145% during the COVID crisis. Though these changes are tremendously heartbreaking, it does have a teeny tiny positive undertone, which is, this has begun to destigmatize mental health.

With each passing day, people are more aware of its existence and they have finally started to put mental health in a much more acceptable light.

Let us Understand the Term Psychiatric Emergency:

When someone falls prey to an accident or develops uncontrollable and questionable symptoms, as a knee-jerk reaction, you end up rushing them to the emergency room. In this scenario, you are aware of what were the physical conditions that awoke your spidey senses telling us that one is in dire need of help.

Similarly, with mental health too there are certain signs and symptoms which allow you to understand the seriousness of a specific condition. A psychiatric emergency is a dangerous or life-threatening scenario where a person would require immediate help.

Here, there would be an acute change in the mood, behavior, or thought of a person, the person could become highly threatening to himself as well as for the people around him.

Types of Psychiatric Emergencies:

In a broad classification, psychiatric emergencies are classified into three main criteria which include major emergencies, minor emergencies, and psychiatric medical emergencies.

People with suicidal tendencies, agitated or violent individuals fall under the major emergency category while people going through grief, rape, a certain disaster or even having a panic attack are considered as minor emergencies.

Each one of these could be highly devastating if damage control is not implemented in due time. The recovery from these too could be an excruciatingly painful slow process. Then comes psychiatric medical emergencies, under these comes a range of signs including delirium, an overdose of medicines or substances, neuroleptic conditions, and more.

Psychiatric Conditions that could lead to a Psychiatric Emergency:

In many cases, these loud and manic symptoms may uproot from an already existing psychiatric condition.

Here are a few of such conditions that could lead to an acute change in behavior, paranoid schizophrenia, psychosis, alcohol or other substances withdrawal or intoxication, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), personality disorders of a certain kind, and dementia.

If you are someone or you know someone overcoming these conditions, kindly always keep an eye out for them.


Living with a mental health condition is one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish, but it is not completely hopeless and so is handling a psychiatric emergency.

With proper knowledge and acquainting yourself with various strategies to prevent and handle these situations, one could definitely help people through some of the darkest days of their lives, All you would need is patience and love.