Back to Journals » Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment » Volume 5

Excited delirium: Consideration of selected medical and psychiatric issues

Authors Samuel E, Williams R, Ferrell R

Published 21 January 2009 Volume 2009:5 Pages 61—66

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S2883


Edith Samuel1, Robert B Williams1, Richard B Ferrell2

1Department of Psychology, Atlantic Baptist University, Moncton, New Brunswick Canada; 2Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA

Abstract: Excited delirium, sometimes referred to as agitated or excited delirium, is the label assigned to the state of acute behavioral disinhibition manifested in a cluster of behaviors that may include bizarreness, aggressiveness, agitation, ranting, hyperactivity, paranoia, panic, violence, public disturbance, surprising physical strength, profuse sweating due to hyperthermia, respiratory arrest, and death. Excited delirium is reported to result from substance intoxication, psychiatric illness, alcohol withdrawal, head trauma, or a combination of these. This communication reviews the history of the origins of excited delirium, selected research related to its causes, symptoms, management, and the links noted between it and selected medical and psychiatric conditions. Excited delirium involves behavioral and physical symptoms that are also observed in medical and psychiatric conditions such as rhabdomyolysis, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and catatonia. A useful contribution of this communication is that it links the state of excited delirium to conditions for which there are known and effective medical and psychiatric interventions.

Keywords: excited delirium, excited states, cocaine misuse, restraint or in custody deaths

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]