Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay

Posted: January 5th, 2023

Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay

Discussion: Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults

The diagnosis of psychiatric emergencies can include a wide range of problems—from serious drug reactions to abuse and suicidal ideation/behaviors. Regardless of care setting, the PMHNP must know how to address emergencies, coordinate care with other members of the health care team and law enforcement officials (when indicated), and effectively communicate with family members who are often overwhelmed in emergency situations. Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay

In this week’s Discussion, you compare treatment of adult psychiatric emergency clients to child or adolescent psychiatric emergency clients.


Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Compare treatment of adult psychiatric emergency clients to child or adolescent psychiatric emergency clients
  • Analyze legal and ethical issues concerning treatment of child or adolescent psychiatric emergency clients


To Prepare:

  • Review the Learning Resources concerning emergency psychiatric medicine.
  • Consider a case where your adult client had a psychiatric emergency. (Note:If you have not had an adult client with a psychiatric emergency, ask your preceptor to describe one of their clients with a psychiatric emergency to use as an example for this Discussion.). Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay




  • Briefly describe the case you selected.
  • Explain how you would treat the client differently if he or she were a child or adolescent.
  • Explain any legal or ethical issues you would have to consider when working with a child or adolescent emergency case.


Respond to at least two of your colleagues by recommending at least one additional way you would treat a child or adolescent client differently than you would an adult and at least one additional way you would address the legal and ethical issues involved.


            Psychiatric emergencies basically refer to acute behavior, mood or thought disturbance of a patient which if left untreated, can result to potential harm to others or an individual within an environment. Psychiatric emergencies can be classified into two; major and minor. According to Zun (2016), patients with major psychiatric emergencies present with danger to a patient’s life or the life of others. In minor psychiatric emergencies, there is severe incapacitation rather than a treat to life. This paper discusses the management of psychiatric emergencies in children in comparison to adults. A description of the ethical and legal issues to consider when working with children/adolescents in emergency cases will also be discussed. Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay

Description of the Selected Case

            For case selected for this assignment involves EO, a 40 year old African American who presented with a well-known history of chronic pain and hyperthyroidism. EO presented with complaints of suicidal ideation and severe depression. The client reported of experiencing several episodes of severe anger towards her husband due to his consistent failure to provide social and emotional support to his family and create time to spend with them. She also explained that, she tried to commit suicide to gain the husbands attention. The husband in turn promised to be self-committed and organized to frequently meet her in the inpatient psychiatric unit.

The management of this patient begins with ruling out potential life-threatening organic causes of individual patient behavior such as: hypoxia, kidney or liver dysfunction, hypoglycemia and thyroid. Following a medical clearance, this patient will need a comprehensive emergency psychiatric evaluation to determine the actual level of suicide risk that he is potentially likely to face. Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay

               How I Would Treat the Client Differently If She Were A Child/Adolescent

If this patient was an adolescent or a child, it would be needful to start with treating the patient and medically clearing her before conducting a psychiatric evaluation. Patients presenting with mental health disorders that impair cognitive, emotional, behavioral and physical functioning need to be evaluated in terms of familial, community, school and cultural perspectives (Chun, et al., 2015).  Majority of the signs and symptoms identified and linked to the impairments in social, physical and behavioral functioning always respond to the currently available treatment options. The mental healthcare provider conducting the psychiatric evaluation ought to prioritize the client’s symptoms and definitive diagnosis to make an effective and practical treatment plan that addresses a client’s multiple needs (DeVylder, et al., 2015).

Ethical/Legal Issues to Consider When Working with a Child/Adolescent Emergency Case

The same rules tend to apply to all children to the age of 18 years. It is mandatory that parents’ consent to the treatment that a child receives despite the fact that children are likely to either disagree or agree.   In case both the child and the guardian agree, then progression to the entire course of treatment can be smooth. However, should they happen to disagree, it will be essential to take into account essential ethical considerations. In this case, the ethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence are given the utmost consideration to enhance the child’s safety (Mapelli, Black & Doan, 2015). Therefore, opposition by the child or parent to institute necessary psychiatric interventions should immediately be done away with incase of imminent danger. In case there is parental consent but the child disagrees, similar principles should be applied as a foundation for reasoning (Zun, 2016).  However, due to developmental dissimilarities they will differently be applied.Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay


Chun, T.H., Katz, E.R., Duffy, S.J., & Gerson, R.S. (2015). Challenges of managing pediatric mental health crises in the emergency department. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America24(1), 21-40.

DeVylder, J. E., Lukens, E. P., Link, B. G., & Lieberman, J. A. (2015). Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among adults with psychotic experiences: data from the collaborative psychiatric epidemiology surveys. JAMA psychiatry72(3), 219-225.

Mapelli, E., Black, T., & Doan, Q. (2015). Trends in pediatric emergency department utilization for mental health-related visits. The Journal of pediatrics167(4), 905-910.

Zun, L. (2016). Care of psychiatric patients: the challenge to emergency physicians. Western journal of emergency medicine17(2), 173. Treatment of Psychiatric Emergencies in Children Versus Adults Essay

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