Week 8: Pharmacology for Psychological Disorders

How does an advanced practice nurse determine the best treatment option or pharmacotherapeutic to recommend for patients with psychological disorders?

Much like assessing or recommending pharmacotherapeutics for other conditions or disorders, as an advanced practice nurse, you may encounter a patient who presents with a psychological disorder. Understanding the guiding principles related to treating patients with psychological disorders as well as the effects of pharmacotherapeutics on a patient’s overall health and well-being is critical for the safe and effective delivery of care.

This week, you examine types of drugs prescribed to patients with psychological disorders. You also examine potential impacts of pharmacotherapeutics used to treat psychological disorders on a patient’s pathophysiology.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate patients for treatment of psychological disorders
  • Analyze decisions made throughout the diagnosis and treatment of patients with psychological disorders
  • Analyze impacts of pharmacotherapeutics for psychological disorders on patient pathophysiology
  • Evaluate patients for treatment of neurological and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Analyze decisions made throughout the diagnosis and treatment of patients with neurological and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Justify decisions made throughout the diagnosis and treatment of patients with neurological and musculoskeletal disorders

 

Interactive

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Middle-Aged White Male With Anxiety

 

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The client is a 46-year-old white male who works as a welder at a local steel fabrication factory. He presents today after being referred by his PCP after a trip to the emergency room in which he felt he was having a heart attack. He stated that he felt chest tightness, shortness of breath, and feeling of impending doom. He does have some mild hypertension (which is treated with low sodium diet) and is about 15 lbs. overweight. He had his tonsils removed when he was 8 years old, but his medical history since that time has been unremarkable. Myocardial infarction was ruled out in the ER and his EKG was normal. Remainder of physical exam was WNL.

He admits that he still has problems with tightness in the chest and episodes of shortness of breath- he now terms these “anxiety attacks.” He will also report occasional feelings of impending doom, and the need to “run” or “escape” from wherever he is at.

In your office, he confesses to occasional use of ETOH to combat worries about work. He admits to consuming about 3-4 beers/night. Although he is single, he is attempting to care for aging parents in his home. He reports that the management at his place of employment is harsh, and he fears for his job. You administer the HAM-A, which yields a score of 26.

Client has never been on any type of psychotropic medication.

 

MENTAL STATUS EXAM

The client is alert, oriented to person, place, time, and event. He is appropriately dressed. Speech is clear, coherent, and goal-directed. Client’s self-reported mood is “bleh” and he does endorse feeling “nervous”. Affect is somewhat blunted, but does brighten several times throughout the clinical interview. Affect broad. Client denies visual or auditory hallucinations, no overt delusional or paranoid thought processes readily apparent. Judgment is grossly intact, as is insight. He denies suicidal or homicidal ideation.

You administers the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) which yields a score of 26.

Diagnosis: Generalized anxiety disorder

 

RESOURCES

§ Hamilton, M. (1959). Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. Psyctests, doi:10.1037/t02824-0

 

Decision Point One

 

Begin Zseoloft 50 mg orally daily

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE

·     Client returns to clinic in four weeks

·     Client informs you that he has no tightness in chest, or shortness of breath

·     Client states that he noticed decreased worries about work over the past 4 or 5 days

·     HAM-A score has decreased to 18 (partial response)

 

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO

·     Client returns to clinic in four weeks

·     Client reports an even further reduction in his symptoms

·     HAM-A score has now decreased to 10. At this point- continue current dose (61% reduction in symptoms)

 

Decision Point Three

 

Maintain current dose

 

At this point, it may be appropriate to continue client at the current dose. It is clear that the client is having a good response (as evidenced by greater than a 50% reduction in symptoms) and the client is currently not experiencing any side effects, the current dose can be maintained for 12 weeks to evaluate full effect of drug. Increasing drug at this point may yield a further decrease in symptoms, but may also increase the risk of side effects. This is a decision that you should discuss with the client. Nothing in the client’s case tells us that we should consider adding an augmentation agent at this point as the client is demonstrating response to the drug. Avoid polypharmacy unless symptoms cannot be managed by a single drug.

 

Discussion: Decision Making When Treating Psychological Disorders

Psychological disorders, such as depression, bipolar, and anxiety disorders can present several complications for patients of all ages. These disorders affect patients physically and emotionally, potentially impacting judgment, school and/or job performance, and relationships with family and friends. Since these disorders have many drastic effects on patients’ lives, it is important for advanced practice nurses to effectively manage patient care. With patient factors and medical history in mind, it is the advanced practice nurse’s responsibility to ensure the safe and effective diagnosis, treatment, and education of patients with psychological disorders.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For this Discussion, you will select an interactive media piece to practice decision making when treating patients with psychological disorders. You will recommend the most effective pharmacotherapeutic to treat the psychological disorder presented and examine potential impacts of pharmacotherapeutics on a patient’s pathophysiology.

To Prepare

  • Review this week’s interactive media pieces and select one to focus on for this Discussion.
  • Reflect on the decision steps in the interactive media pieces, and consider the potential impacts from the administration of the associated pharmacotherapeutics on the patient’s pathophysiology.

By Day 3 of Week 8

Post a brief explanation of the psychological disorder presented and the decision steps you applied in completing the interactive media piece for the psychological disorder you selected. Then, explain how the administration of the associated pharmacotherapeutics you recommended may impact the patient’s pathophysiology. How might these potential impacts inform how you would suggest treatment plans for this patient? Be specific and provide examples.

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Psychological disorders, such as depression, bipolar, and anxiety disorders can present several complications for patients of all ages. These disorders affect patients physically and emotionally, potentially impacting judgment, school and/or job performance, and relationships with family and friends. Since these disorders have many drastic effects on patients’ lives, it is important for advanced practice nurses to effectively manage patient care. With patient factors and medical history in mind, it is the advanced practice nurse’s responsibility to ensure the safe and effective diagnosis, treatment, and education of patients with psychological disorders.

 

For this Discussion, you will select an interactive media piece to practice decision making when treating patients with psychological disorders. You will recommend the most effective pharmacotherapeutic to treat the psychological disorder presented and examine potential impacts of pharmacotherapeutics on a patient’s pathophysiology.

To Prepare
  • Review this week’s interactive media pieces and select one to focus on for this Discussion.
  • Reflect on the decision steps in the interactive media pieces, and consider the potential impacts from the administration of the associated pharmacotherapeutics on the patient’s pathophysiology.

INTERACTIVE MEDIA: Hispanic Male with major depressive disorder (MDD)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The client is a 70 year-old Hispanic American male who came to the United States when he was in high school with his father. His mother died back in Mexico when he was in school. He presents today to your office for an initial appointment for complaints of depression. The client was referred by his PCP after “routine” medical work-up to rule out an organic basis for his depression. He has no other health issues with the exception of some occasional back pain and “stiff” shoulders which he attributes to his current work as a laborer in a warehouse.

SUBJECTIVE

During today’s clinical interview, client reports that he always felt like an outsider as he was “teased” a lot for being “black” in high school. States that he had few friends, and basically kept to himself. He describes his home life as “good.” Stating “Dad did what he could for us, there were 8 of us.” He also reports a remarkably diminished interest in engaging in usual activities, states that he has gained 15 pounds in the last 2 months. He is also troubled with insomnia which began about 6 months ago, but have been progressively getting worse. He does report poor concentration which he reports is getting in “trouble” at work.

MENTAL STATUS EXAM

The client is alert, oriented to person, place, time, and event. He is casually dressed. Speech is clear, but soft. He does not readily make eye contact, but when he does, it is only for a few moments. He is endorsing feelings of depression. Affect is somewhat constricted, but improves as the clinical interview progresses. He denies visual or auditory hallucinations, no overt delusional or paranoid thought processes readily apparent. Judgment and insight appear grossly intact. He is currently denying suicidal or homicidal ideation. You administer the “Montgomery- Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS)” and obtained a score of 51 (indicating severe depression).

RESOURCES

§ Montgomery, S. A., & Asberg, M. (1979). A new depression scale designed to be sensitive to change. British Journal of Psychiatry, 134, 382-389.

Assignment: Write  a brief explanation of the psychological disorder presented and the decision steps you applied in completing the interactive media piece for the psychological disorder you selected. Then, explain how the administration of the associated pharmacotherapeutics you recommended may impact the patient’s pathophysiology. How might these potential impacts inform how you would suggest treatment plans for this patient? Be specific and provide examples.

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Use the following coupon
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