Analyze ethical and legal implications related to prescribing anxiolytic therapy to clients across the lifespan.

For individuals suffering from 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 mental health 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 clients with PTSD and other anxiety disorders. You also explore ethical and legal implications of these therapies.

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Assignment: Assessing and Treating Clients 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 clients to seek care from their primary care providers or emergency departments. Once it is determined that there is no organic basis for these symptoms, clients are typically referred to a psychiatric mental health practitioner for anxiolytic therapy. For this Assignment, as you examine the client case study in this week’s Learning Resources, consider how you might assess and treat clients presenting with anxiety disorders.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

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Assessing and Treating Clients with Anxiety Disorder

Assessing and Treating Clients with Anxiety Disorders.

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent category of mental illness and are characterized by chronic anxiety causing distress and interference in the individual’s life. According to DSM-5, excessive anxiety and worry must cause significant distress or impairment and occurs on more days than not for at least six months for diagnostic criteria (Stein et al., 2015) The disorder can be effectively treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two modalities.

This paper addresses the pharmacology approach in treating a 46 year- old white male who is experiencing anxiety, and the impact pharmacokinetic and pharmadynamic processes will be explored to guide for the appropriate treatment.

Case Scenario

A 46-year-old white male who initially presented to ER with a complaint of chest pain and cardiac work- up was negative, and a PMHNP consult was sought for psychiatric evaluation. The client ‘s Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale( HAM-A) was 26 indicating moderate to severe anxiety phase. The PMHNP decides to start the client on medications.

Options: Zoloft 50 mg Po Daily, imipramine 25 mg po BID, buspirone 10 mg BID. 

Decision: Zoloft 50 mg PO daily.

Rationale: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs ) benzodiazepines, buspirone, and α2δ ligands such as pregabalin and gabapentin are recommended as first line treatments for anxiety disorders spectrum (Stahl, 2017) However,  SSRI and SNRIs are efficacious in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic attack as in the case of our patient in the scenario. Additionally, in cases of co-occurring GAD and depression, a common comorbidity, SSRIs can provide effective treatment for both GAD and major depression ( Johnson & Coles, 2014) .

Selecting sertraline (Zoloft) was based on the fact it belongs to the family of SSRI, and well recognized in the treatment of GAD and panic attack. Secondly, possible side effects of Zoloft which include sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal abnormalities (nausea and diarrhea), insomnia, weight gain, and agitation and/or hyperactivation (Kamo et al.,2016) were explored prior selecting Zoloft. The patient was overweight (15 lb), hence a healthy lifestyle will be important for education, and the rest of side effects can be monitored and managed early in treatment.

Sertraline affects the serotonin neurotransmitter in the synaptic cleft by blocking the serotonin transporter from returning the remaining serotonin to the presynaptic cell. Sertraline is well absorbed in gastrointestinal tract, highly protein bound, predominantly metabolized by CYP 450 system  with half-life of 24- 26 hrs and removed primarily  by kidneys ( Woo & Wayne, 2013).

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Cathy, CS