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Utilization of Emergency Psychiatry Service in a Tertiary Care Centre in North Eastern India: A Retrospective Study

Subrata Naskar, Kamal Nath, Robin Victor, Kaveri Saxena
Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 2019, 41 (2): 167-172

Background: In a developing country like India, with a lot of psychosocial stressors and ample stigma toward psychiatry, we studied the sociodemographic pattern of the patients coming to a tertiary care center for emergency psychiatry services and also evaluated the types and pattern of emergency services provided to them. We also assessed the predominant presenting complaints with which patients presented at the emergency department, "reasons for referral" in an emergency by other departments, and types of psychiatric diagnoses in the patients.

Subjects and Methods: Data were extracted retrospectively from the general emergency and psychiatry emergency register of Silchar Medical College and Hospital for 1 year and analyzed.

Results: Out of 41,040 patients attending the hospital seeking emergency care, referral rate to the psychiatric emergency was only 2.8%. The commonest presenting complaint of subjects who were referred was "medically unexplained somatic complaints" (47.70%). The main reason for a referral from other departments was "no physical illness was detected" in the patient (38.59%). About 78.8% of the subjects were diagnosed as having a proper psychiatric illness, with the majority presenting with stress-related and somatoform disorders (F40-49) (43.45%).

Conclusion: This study highlights various important parameters regarding emergency services being provided and their utilization by the patients attending a psychiatric emergency, which could be helpful for future policies and resource allocation for providing superior quality and cost-effective mental health care to the patients.


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