To examine the pattern of psychiatric emergencies that occur in children and adolescents

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Dr. Satya Praveen Redy, Dr. J M Pawar, Dr. Kartik Mehta


Aim: The purpose of this research is to examine the pattern of psychiatric emergencies that occur in children and adolescents who get care at a tertiary care center. Material and methods: For the purpose of the study, participants consisted of consecutive child and adolescent patients of either gender who were registered in the emergency department of the Institute and visited by the on-call psychiatric emergency referral team at some point over the course of the research. Case records that were unclear or incomplete, as well as those that were lacking data, were disregarded. Notes were taken on the patient's available demographic and clinical data, which included diagnosis, co-morbidities, treatment suggestions, and referrals to other medical disciplines. Results: There were a total of 150 child and adolescent patient records that were examined, with 50 of those records coming from before the pandemic. This represented 20% of all-age emergency psychiatric visits during that time period. The evaluation for possible self-harm was the most prevalent cause for referral in both sets of patients (48% vs 46%). When compared to the group that existed before the pandemic, the pandemic group had a much reduced percentage of emergency patients who were diagnosed with medical or neurological surgical conditions. On the other hand, whereas 90% of those in the pandemic group had no known medical diagnosis, this was only the case for 72% of those in the pre-pandemic group. However, as compared to the pre-pandemic group, the percentage of patients in the pandemic group who were prescribed benzodiazepines was considerably higher (P = 0.01, or 43 percent vs. 28 percent).  Conclusion: During the pandemic, there was no discernible rise in the number of children and adolescents who required emergency psychiatric care on a monthly basis. In the younger demographic, self-inflicted injuries were the most prevalent reason for psychiatric referral during times of mental health crisis involving emergency services.

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