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Delirium and Acute Anxiety 

Delirium and Acute Anxiety
Chapter:
Delirium and Acute Anxiety
Author(s):

Kevin Bezanson

and Stephanie Rogers

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190066529.003.0007
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date: 31 March 2020

This chapter reviews the assessment and management of patients presenting with acute confusion and agitation in humanitarian crises. The first section focuses on delirium, its distinguishing characteristics, and its diagnosis. The chapter then describes a contextually appropriate process for identifying and treating potentially reversible causes. Finally, it recommends management strategies for associated distressing symptoms with a priority on behavioral over pharmacological interventions. The second section addresses acute anxiety in the context of collective and personal trauma. Distinguishing features and manifestations are described. Approaches to management emphasizing behavioral and psychosocial care, with a limited role for pharmacological support, are outlined. The potential relationship of acute anxiety to other mental health conditions is also referenced.

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