Pattern of adult psychiatric emergency cases presenting at a university teaching hospital in Nigeria

  • I.O. Aina
  • A.N. Otakpor


Background: A significant proportion of people with mental and behavioural problems visit the hospital on an emergency basis. The record of the pattern of such visits are not commonly seen.

Objective: To determine the types of psychiatric problems presenting as emergencies at a tertiary hospital in the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria, and the disposition pattern of the affected patients.

Materials and methods: Patients presenting with psychiatric emergencies were recruited consecutively as they presented at the adult section of the Accident and Emergency Unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) from June 2008 to December 2008. The diagnoses made in the clinical assessment (using the 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Disorders  ICD10) and disposition plans were documented.

Results: One hundred and eighty cases of psychiatric emergencies were seen. The commonest diagnosis was schizophrenia (24.4%). Bipolar Affective Disorder, current episode manic without psychotic symptoms constituted 17.2% of the cases, while 9.4% were cases of Mental and Behavioural Disorder due to Psychoactive Substance Use. Other cases included depressive illness, mania and delirium. Most ( 90%) of the patients were subsequently admitted for further management, while 6.1% were treated on out-patient basis and 2.1% had extended observation.

Conclusion: Psychotic disorders were the commonest problems presenting as emergencies, and these were treated by in-patient admission in the majority of cases.

Keywords: Pattern, Adult, Psychiatric Emergencies


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eISSN: 1596-6569