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Tiny Leaps, Big Changes

Gregg Clunis

Tiny Leaps, Big Changes
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In this episode, look at mental health emergencies. 

Recognizing an Emergency:

Any time a person is an immediate danger to others or themselves, experts say.


"In many ways, issues related to suicide are similar to having chest pain: This is an emergency, and it should be taken seriously," Borenstein says. In other words, if someone around you is threatening violence, call 911 or take the person to the nearest emergency room yourself, he says.

Other situations that warrant quick care include people who show signs of psychosis that affect their functioning such as delusions, paranoia or fear, Borenstein says. People who are extremely agitated, wild, overly active and unable to calm down should also raise red flags – particularly if they don't respond to verbal interventions like saying, "Hey, can we sit down and talk?" Lieberman adds.

Sudden behavior changes should be taken seriously, too. "If something evolves rapidly, it's probably not psychiatric," Lieberman says. It's probably something really, really serious like poisoning, and they just need to be taken to the closest emergency room immediately." If you have a choice, head to an academic medical center, since clinicians there tend to be up-to-date on the most effective procedures and treatments, he says."

When to Ask For Help if its Not an Emergency:

  1. Feeling sad, angry, or otherwise “not yourself.”

  2. Abusing drugs, alcohol, food, or sex to cope.

  3. You’ve lost someone or something important to you.

  4. Something traumatic has happened.

  5. You can’t do the things you like to do.






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