[Emotional disorders and psychological needs of patients in an Intensive Care Unit]

Med Intensiva. 2007 Aug-Sep;31(6):318-25. doi: 10.1016/s0210-5691(07)74830-1.
[Article in Spanish]


From the time when a disease whose treatment is going to require hospitalization for a surgical intervention is diagnosed, both the patient and his/her family members or primary caretakers are involved in a process that may involve the experience of several emotional alterations. This work focuses on the description of the different psychological problems and needs manifested by the patients who require, as part of the treatment process and recovery control, admission to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). During the patient's stay in the ICU, the emotional alterations mentioned most frequently by them are anxiety, stress, depression or the so-called intensive care syndrome, during which factors such as excessive noise that may make sleeping and rest difficult, pain, the methods used for ventilation that prevent the patients from communicating adequately, etc. Furthermore, the patients generally develop a feeling of loss of self-control, the main needs described being the sensation of safety and "knowing what is happening". The experiences lived may continue to produce emotional alterations even months after hospital discharge, with the development of a Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. This justifies a follow-up in order to detect them and treat them adequately. It seems to be appropriate for the treatment of these patients to be multidisciplinary, attending to both the physical needs related with the disease as well as the psychological ones.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology*
  • Affective Symptoms / nursing
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Affective Symptoms / therapy
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology