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Down the Rabbit Hole: Emergency Department Medical Clearance of Patients with Psychiatric or Behavioral Emergencies.

Patients presenting with behavior or psychiatric complaints may have an underlying medical disorder causing or worsening their symptoms. Misdiagnosing a medical illness as psychiatric can lead to increased morbidity and mortality. A thorough history and physical examination, including mental status, are important to identify these causes and guide further testing. Laboratory and ancillary testing should be guided by what is indicated based on clinical assessment. Certain patient populations and signs and symptoms have a higher association with organic causes of behavioral complaints. Many medical problems can present with or exacerbate psychiatric symptoms, and a thorough medical assessment is imperative.

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