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Clinical Mimics: An Emergency Medicine Focused Review of Anxiety Mimics: Journal of Emergency Medicine

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Journal Article - Open Access

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59th Clinical Research Division Joint Base San Antonio United States

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Background Anxiety is the most common mental health diagnosis in the general population. Patients in the emergency department ED with anxiety attack may complain of heart palpitations, dyspnea, and chest pain. However, these non-specific complaints may be the manifestation of serious disease. Objective of Review This review provides an analysis of various medical mimics of anxiety and an approach to their identification, evaluation, andmanagement in the ED.Discussion Approximately half of the patients seeking psychiatric emergency services for a supposed anxiety attack have a poorly treated orundiagnosed medical condition contributing to their symptoms. The symptoms of anxiety include dizzinesslightheadedness, paresthesias, chestpain, palpitationstachycardia, sensations of shortness of breath, tachypnea, and nausea or abdominal upset. The approach to evaluation andmanagement of these patients should include an assessment of the patients airway, breathing, and circulation and focused history and physical examinationto evaluate for time-sensitive conditions. Providers should assess for red flags suchas family history significant for cardiac or neurological diagnoses, at what age the firstpresentation of the patients symptoms occurred, fluctuations of consciousness, autonomic instability, and focal neurological deficits.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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