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Assessing and Treating Patients With Anxiety Disorders

Therapy for Patients With Anxiety Disorders and PTSD Treatment

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I’m no longer at the mercy of my PTSD, and I would not be here today had I not had the proper diagnosis and treatment. It’s never too late to seek help.

—P.K. Philips, PTSD patient

For individuals presenting with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders, everyday life can be a constant challenge. Clients requiring anxiolytic therapy may present with anxiousness, depression, substance abuse issues, and even physical symptoms related to cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal ailments. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you must be prepared to address the many needs of individuals seeking treatment for PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

This week, as you study anxiolytic therapies and PTSD treatments, you examine the assessment and treatment of patients with PTSD and other anxiety disorders. You also explore ethical and legal implications of these therapies.

Reference: Philips, P. K. (n.d.). My story of survival: Battling PTSD. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd

Objectives

· Assess patient factors and history to develop personalized plans of anxiolytic therapy for patients

· Analyze factors that influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes in patients requiring anxiolytic therapy

· Synthesize knowledge of providing care to patients presenting with anxiolytic therapy

· Analyze ethical and legal implications related to prescribing anxiolytic therapy to patients across the lifespan

· Assess psychopharmacologic approaches to treatment for patients across the lifespan

Assignment: Assessing and Treating Patients With Anxiety Disorders

Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include chest pains, shortness of breath, and other physical symptoms that may be mistaken for a heart attack or other physical ailment. These manifestations often prompt patients to seek care from their primary care providers or emergency departments. Once it is determined that there is no organic basis for these symptoms, patients are typically referred to a psychiatric mental health practitioner for anxiolytic therapy. For this Assignment, as you examine the patient case study in this week’s Learning Resources, consider how you might assess and treat patients presenting with anxiety disorders.

To prepare for this Assignment:

· Review this week’s Learning Resources, including the Medication Resources indicated for this week.

· Reflect on the psychopharmacologic treatments you might recommend for the assessment and treatment of patients requiring anxiolytic therapy.

The Assignment: 5 pages

Examine Case Study: A Middle-Aged Caucasian Man With Anxiety.  You will be asked to make three decisions concerning the medication to prescribe to this patient. Be sure to consider factors that might impact the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes.

At each decision point, you should evaluate all options before selecting your decision and moving throughout the exercise. Before you make your decision, make sure that you have researched each option and that you evaluate the decision that you will select. Be sure to research each option using the primary literature.

Introduction to the case (1 page)

· Briefly explain and summarize the case for this Assignment. Be sure to include the specific patient factors that may impact your decision making when prescribing medication for this patient.

Decision #1 (1 page)

· Which decision did you select?

· Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

· Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

· What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).

· Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #2 (1 page)

· Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

· Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

· What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).

· Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #3 (1 page)

· Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

· Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

· What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).

· Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Conclusion (1 page)

· Summarize your recommendations on the treatment options you selected for this patient. Be sure to justify your recommendations and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

Note:  Support your rationale with a minimum 5 academic resources. While you may use the course text to support your rationale, it will not count toward the resource requirement. You should be utilizing the primary and secondary literature.

Learning Resources

Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)

Bui, E., Pollack, M. H., Kinrys, G., Delong, H., Vasconcelos e Sá, D., & Simon, N. M. (2016). The pharmacotherapy of anxiety disorders. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 61–71). Elsevier.

American Psychiatric Association. (2010a). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. https://psychiatryonline.org/pb/assets/raw/sitewide/practice_guidelines/guidelines/acutestressdisorderptsd.pdf

American Psychiatric Association. (2010c). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with panic disorder (2nd ed.). https://psychiatryonline.org/pb/assets/raw/sitewide/practice_guidelines/guidelines/panicdisorder.pdf

Bendek, D. M., Friedman, M. J., Zatzick, D., & Ursano, R. J. (n.d.). Guideline watch (March 2009): Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. https://psychiatryonline.org/pb/assets/raw/sitewide/practice_guidelines/guidelines/acutestressdisorderptsd-watch.pdf

Cohen, J. A. (2010). Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(4), 414–430. https://jaacap.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0890-8567%2810%2900082-1

Davidson, J. (2016). Pharmacotherapy of post-traumatic stress disorder: Going beyond the guidelines. British Journal of Psychiatry2(6), e16–e18. 10.1192/bjpo.bp.116.003707. http://bjpo.rcpsych.org/content/2/6/e16

Hamilton, M. (1959). Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). PsycTESTS. https://doi.org/10.1037/t02824-0

Ostacher, M. J., & Cifu, A. S. (2019). Management of posttraumatic stress disorder. JAMA, 321(2), 200–201. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.19290

Strawn, J. R., Wehry, A. M., DelBello, M. P., Rynn, M. A., & Strakowski. S. (2012). Establishing the neurobiologic basis of treatment in children and adolescents with generalized anxiety disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 29(4), 328–339. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.21913

Medication Resources (click to expand/reduce)

IBM Corporation. (2020). IBM Micromedex.

https://www.micromedexsolutions.com/micromedex2/librarian/deeplinkaccess?source=deepLink&institution=SZMC%5ESZMC%5ET43537

Note: To access the following medications, use the IBM Micromedex resource. Type the name of each medication in the keyword search bar. Be sure to read all sections on the left navigation bar related to each medication’s result page as this information will be helpful for your review in preparation for your Assignments.

Review the following medications:

· benzodiazepines· citalopram· desvenlafaxine· duloxetine· escitalopram· fluoxetine· paroxetine· sertraline· venlafaxine· vilazodone· vortioxetine· propranolol· prazosin

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Middle-Aged White Male With Anxiety

Middle aged male

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 administer 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

Select what you should do:

Begin Zoloft 50 mg po daily

Begin Imipramine 25 mg po BID

Begin Buspirone 10 mg po BID

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Middle-Aged White Male With Anxiety

Asian girl

Decision Point One

Begin Zoloft 50 mg orally daily

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE

Begin Zoloft 50 mg orally daily

·  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)

Decision Point Two

Increase dose to 75 mg orally daily

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO

 Increase dose to 75 mg orally daily

·  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

Maintain current dose

Guidance to Student 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.

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