Assessing and Treating Clients With Anxiety Disorders

I’m studying for my Nursing class and need an explanation.

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.

The PMHNP 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 Buspirone 10 mg orally BID

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE

  • Client returns to clinic in four weeks
  • Client reports slight decrease in symptoms
  • Client states that he still feels very anxious
  • HAM-A score decreased from 26 to 23

Decision Point Two

Discontinue buspirone and begin Lexapro 10 mg orally daily

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO

  • Client returns to clinic in four weeks
  • Client reports that he feels “great”
  • Client states that his anxiety is getting “better”
  • HAM-A score has decreased from 23 to 13
  • Client does report that he sometimes feels sleepy for a few hours after taking the medication, but “perks up” by early to midafternoon

Decision Point Three

Continue same dose of Lexapro but change administration time to bedtime

Guidance to Student
At this point, the client reports that he is feeling “great” with a decrease in symptoms from an initial HAM-A score of 26 down to 13. This represents a 50% decrease in symptoms in just 4 weeks. Recall that an adequate trail can be as long as 12 weeks, we may not need to increase the drug any more at this point as we do not know how much more the current dose will improve the client’s symptoms. The PMHNP could increase the dose but this could increase the risk of side effects- especially the sleepiness that the client is complaining about in the morning after taking the medication. It is plausible that an increase in the dose would increase morning sedation.

The most prudent course of action would be to continue the same dose of medication, but change the administration time to bedtime. This way, the client will not be troubled by the sedating effects of the medication, and sleep may be enhanced which could also improve overall anxiety.

At this point, nothing in the client presentation suggests the need to augment his Lexapro with any other agents. Therefore, buspirone augmentation would not be an appropriate response.

The Assignment

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 client. Be sure to consider factors that might impact the client’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes.

At each decision point stop to complete the following:

  • Decision #1
    • Which decision did you select?
    • Why did you select this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.
    • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.
    • Explain any difference between what you expected to achieve with Decision #1 and the results of the decision. Why were they different?
  • Decision #2
    • Why did you select this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.
    • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.
    • Explain any difference between what you expected to achieve with Decision #2 and the results of the decision. Why were they different?
  • Decision #3
    • Why did you select this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.
    • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.
    • Explain any difference between what you expected to achieve with Decision #3 and the results of the decision. Why were they different?

Also include how ethical considerations might impact your treatment plan and communication with clients.

Note: Support your rationale with a minimum of three academic resources. While you may use the course text to support your rationale, it will not count toward the resource requirement.


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