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What is "excited delirium" and where can I learn more about this topic?
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-sponsored grant report Physiological Model of Excited Delirium uses the following definition of Excited Delirium:

"Although the effects of conductive energy weapons (CEWs) on healthy, anesthetized swine and normal human beings appear to be transient, there have been concerns raised about their use in vulnerable populations. These populations include those individuals who have a compromised physiology due to a variety of reasons including drug abuse and psychosis. One of the most common terms used to describe individuals in this abnormal state is excited delirium (ED). Excited delirium has been defined as the onset of a temporary disruption in awareness and cognition along with aggressive or violent actions. Some signs associated with excited delirium include tachycardia (rapid heart rate), hyperthermia (elevated temperature), hypotension (low blood pressure), dehydration, and catecholamine (norepinephrine and epinephrine) release causing added stress on the heart."

This report goes on to state that "[t]here is much debate about the existence of this syndrome and its role in fatalities proximal to CEW use."

Additional information about this phenomenon is available in the NIJ-sponsored panel report titled Special Panel Review of Excited Delirium.


Last Updated: September 21, 2012

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