Expert advice

Acute behavioural disturbance: how to manage the risks

Guidance for healthcare staff on managing acute behavioural disturbance in emergency departments and the use of de-escalation, restraint and tranquilisation  
De-escalation of acute behavioural disturbance

Guidance for healthcare staff on managing acute behavioural disturbance in emergency departments and the use of de-escalation, restraint and tranquilisation

What is acute behavioural disturbance?

Previously known as ‘excited delirium’, ‘acute behavioural disorder’ or ‘agitated delirium’, acute behavioural disturbance (ABD) is an umbrella term to describe a presentation, rather than a diagnosis, which may include abnormal physiology and behaviour.

Widely recognised by in-hospital and pre-hospital emergency care providers, ABD has a variety of presenting features and potential causes, says the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) in recent guidance for health professionals.

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