Psychiatric Emergencies

  • Seema M. ThekdiEmail author
  • Sara Wood
Part of the MD Anderson Cancer Care Series book series (MDCCS)


The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the psychiatric emergencies that develop in cancer patients. In the section on agitation, a differential diagnosis is provided and discussed, as are workup and intervention strategies. Causes of agitation in the oncology setting are reviewed, specifically, delirium, adverse medication effects, substance intoxication and withdrawal, and exacerbation of psychiatric disorders. Specific medical and psychiatric conditions that may manifest as agitation in the cancer patient are detailed. Approaches to both nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic management of the agitated cancer patient are included. The ensuing section on suicide provides an understanding of the prevalence of suicide in cancer patients, risk factors associated with increased rates of suicide, and critical time points in the course of cancer treatment when clinical monitoring of suicidality and depression should be heightened. Tips on screening and evaluation as well as initial management steps are presented.


Agitation Delirium Antipsychotics Substance intoxication and withdrawal Psychosis Depression Suicide Suicidal ideation, intent, and plan Suicide risk assessment 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Unit 1454The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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