Symptomatic overlap of cocaine intoxication and acute schizophrenia at emergency presentation.
Cocaine intoxication and acute abstinence alter brain dopaminergic functioning, resulting in behavioral changes closely mimicking the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. In emergency room settings, recent cocaine abuse can be mistaken for schizophrenia and may cause inappropriate diagnosis and in some instances medical mismanagement. Schizophrenia patients presenting with recent cocaine abuse may also present with significant diagnostic and treatment dilemmas. This study attempts to distinguish between cocaine and schizophrenic psychosis by examining patients who present with both recent cocaine abuse and acute schizophrenia (CA+SZ), cocaine intoxication without schizophrenic illness (CA), and acute schizophrenia with no comorbid substance abuse (SZ) within the first 24 hours after arrival at the Bellevue psychiatric emergency service. Clinical assessment included the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, the Schedule for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms, and the Schedule for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms. Both cocaine abusing groups were required to have positive urine toxicology screens for inclusion in the study. Multivariate analysis of variance showed the CA+SZ patients present with a clinical profile that overlaps with CA patients on mood and negative symptom dimensions and overlaps with SZ patients on most positive symptoms. CA+SZ patients differed from both groups, however, by presenting with significantly more hallucinatory experiences than cocaine abusing or schizophrenia patient counterparts. Despite considerable overlap, each group of patients presented with a discernible cross-sectional symptom pattern. (+info
Toward a redefinition of psychiatric emergency.
OBJECTIVE: To compare three methods for rating legitimate use of psychiatric emergency services (PES) in order to develop criteria that can differentiate appropriate from inappropriate PES service requests. METHOD: Ratings of PES visits by treating physicians and ratings of the same visits made during review of medical records. STUDY DESIGN: Two previously used methods of identifying justified PES service use were compared with the treating physician's rating of the same: (1) hospitalization as visit outcome and (2) retrospective chart ratings of visit characteristics using traditional medico-surgical criteria for "emergent" illness episodes. DATA EXTRACTION METHODS: Data were extracted through use of a physician questionnaire, and medical and administrative record review. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Agreement between the methods ranged from 47.1 percent to 74.1 percent. A total of 21.7 percent of visits were rated as true health "emergencies" by the traditional definition, while 70.4 percent of visits were rated as "necessary" by treating physicians, and 21.0 percent resulted in hospitalization. Acuteness of behavioral dyscontrol and imminent dangerousness at the time of the visit were common characteristics of appropriate use by most combinations of the three methods of rating visits. CONCLUSIONS: The rating systems employed in similar recent studies produce widely varying percentages of visits so classified. However, it does appear likely that a minimum of 25-30 percent of visits are nonemergent and could be triaged to other, less costly treatment providers. Proposed criteria by which to identify "legitimate" psychiatric emergency room treatment requests includes only patient presentations with (a) acute behavioral dyscontrol or (b) imminent dangerousness to self or others. (+info
Does the disbursement of income increase psychiatric emergencies involving drugs and alcohol?
OBJECTIVE: To determine if the incidence of psychiatric emergencies involving drugs or alcohol supports the argument that mentally ill persons contribute to elevated mortality during the days following disbursement of private earnings and public income transfers. STUDY DESIGN: Interrupted time-series using Box-Jenkins methods. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Daily counts of adults admitted to psychiatric emergency services in San Francisco after using drugs or alcohol were derived from medical records for the period January 1 through June 30, 1997. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Psychiatric emergencies among males who had used drugs or alcohol were elevated in the early days of the month. Such emergencies among females were not similarly elevated. Emergencies among females who had not used drugs or alcohol were elevated in the early days of the month. CONCLUSION: Elevated mortality in the first week of the month may be attributable, in part, to the "check effect" or use of drugs and alcohol by mentally ill males in the days after they receive income. The contribution of women is more complex and may be induced by drug or alcohol abuse among persons in their social networks. The check effect suggests that persons with a history of substance abuse and mental illness should be offered the opportunity to have their income managed by someone who can monitor and influence how the money is being spent. The fact that drug- or alcohol-related admissions among males exhibit temporal patterns suggests that the provision of preventive as well as treatment services may be strategically scheduled. (+info
Utilization of out-of-hours services by patients with mental health problems.
BACKGROUND: This study was designed to provide information about how out-of-hours services are used by those with mental health problems. METHOD: Data were collected from agencies that patients with a mental health problem could directly access out of hours in an inner London health authority area. Data on all contacts were collected for a period of 4 weeks using various methods, including routinely collected data and specially designed data collection sheets. RESULTS: There were a total of 556 contacts across all of the services with 45 per cent of contacts presenting to an accident and emergency department. The type of service accessed was influenced by the sex of the patient, and the presenting complaint, so that females were more likely to contact their general practitioner and those with deliberate self-harm were more likely to attend an accident and emergency department. Females were more likely to present with deliberate self-harm, whereas men were more likely to present with suicidal feelings and depression. CONCLUSIONS: The study highlights some clear patterns in how out-of-hours services are used for mental health problems. The data may be useful in helping providers to plan their services more appropriately. The study also highlighted some of the problems in collecting routine data of this nature. (+info
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; mental health and substance abuse emergency response criteria. Interim final rule.
Section 3102 of the Children's Health Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-310, amends section 501 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 U.S.C. 290 aa) to add a new subsection (m) entitled "Emergency Response." This newly enacted subsection 501(m) authorizes the Secretary to use up to, but no more than, 2.5% of all amounts appropriated under Title V of the PHS Act, other than those appropriated under Part C, in each fiscal year to make "noncompetitive grants, contracts or cooperative agreements to public entities to enable such entities to address emergency substance abuse or mental health needs in local communities." Because Congress believed the Secretary needed the ability to respond to emergencies, it exempted any grants,contracts, or cooperative agreements authorized under this section from the peer review process otherwise required by section 504 of the PHS Act. See section 501(m)(1) of the PHS Act. Instead, the Secretary is to use an objective review process by establishing objective criteria to review applications for funds under this authority. Pursuant to Public Law 106-310, the Secretary is required to establish, and publish in the Federal Register, criteria for determining when a mental health or substance abuse emergency exists. In this interim final rule, the Secretary sets out these criteria, as well as the intended approach for implementing this new mental health and substance abuse emergency response authority. The Secretary invites public comments on both the criteria and the approach described in this interim final rule. (+info
Current practices in managing acutely disturbed patients at three hospitals in Rio de Janeiro-Brazil: a prevalence study.
BACKGROUND: The medical management of aggressive and violent behaviour is a critical situation for which there is little evidence. In order to prepare for a randomised trial, due to start in the psychiatric emergency rooms of Rio de Janeiro in 2001, a survey of current practice was necessary. METHODS: A seven day survey of pharmacological management of aggressive people with psychosis in the emergency rooms of all four public psychiatric hospitals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. RESULTS: In one hospital data were not available. Of the 764 people with psychosis attending these ERs, 74 were given IM medication for rapid tranquillisation (9.7%, 2.1/week/100,000). A haloperidol-promethazine mix (with or without other drugs) was used for the majority of patients (83%). CONCLUSION: The haloperidol-promethazine mix, given intramuscularly for rapid tranquilization, is prevalent in Rio, where it is considered both safe and efficient. However, scientific evaluation of all pharmacological approaches to rapid tranquilization of psychotic people is inadequate or incomplete and a randomized trial of IM haloperidol-promethazine is overdue. (+info
Mental health and illness in Boston's children and adolescents: one city's experience and its implications for mental health policy makers.
In 1999, the Boston Public Heath Commission used data from a variety of sources to explore the level of mental health disturbance in Boston's children and adolescents. Data for 1997 from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that about 20% of Boston public high school students had ever experienced suicidal ideation, while approximately 10% had actually attempted suicide. About one in five teenage respondents to the Boston Youth Survey said they were frequently depressed. While females were more likely to report depression, males were more likely to report isolation and less likely to consider counseling. Medicaid claims data revealed differences by gender and age, with males using psychiatric emergency and Medicaid mental health services more than females, and 10- to 15-year-olds using these services more than other age groups. Emergency room injury surveillance and death certificate data indicated that among children and adolescents, females were twice as likely to attempt suicide as males, although males were more likely to complete a suicide. This data analysis helped pinpoint areas of need and has proven useful in the development of a child and adolescent mental health action agenda. Efforts to date have included expansion of surveillance, legislative advocacy, coalition building, and new services. Key indicators including suicidal ideation and attempts, service utilization, and service capacity have been chosen as markers for future improvement. (+info
Mental health and substance abuse emergency response criteria. Final rule.
Section 3102 of the Children's Health Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-310, amends section 501 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 U.S.C. 290aa) to add a new subsection (m) entitled "Emergency Response." This newly enacted subsection 501(m) authorizes the Secretary to use up to, but no more than, 2.5% of all amounts appropriated under Title V of the PHS Act, other than those appropriated under Part C, in each fiscal year to make "noncompetitive grants, contracts or cooperative agreements to public entities to enable such entities to address emergency substance abuse or mental health needs in local communities." Because Congress believed the Secretary needed the ability to respond to emergencies, it exempted any grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements authorized under this section from the peer review process. See section 501(m)(1) of the PHS Act. Instead, the Secretary is to use an objective review process by establishing objective criteria to review applications for funds under this authority. (+info