Agitation is an unpleasant state of extreme arousal (stirred up or excited), increased tension, and irritability.
Agitation can come on suddenly or over time. It can last for just a few minutes, or for weeks and even months. Pain, stress, and fever can all increase agitation.
Agitation by itself may not be a sign of a health problem. However, if other symptoms occur, it can be a sign of disease.
When agitation lasts for hours and there is a change in alertness (altered consciousness), doctors call this delirium. Delerium always has a medical cause.
There are many causes of agitation, some of which include:
Agitation can occur with brain and mental health disorders, such as:
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Rossi J, Swan MC, Isaacs ED. The violent or agitated patient. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2010;28:235-256.
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