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.
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)
Decision #1 (1 page)
Decision #2 (1 page)
Decision #3 (1 page)
Conclusion (1 page)
Note: Support your rationale with a minimum of five 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.
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
§ Hamilton, M. (1959). Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. Psyctests, doi:10.1037/t02824-0
Decisions Made and Outcomes (Needed to formulate the paper)
Choices for Decision 1: Select what the PMHNP should do:
My decision: I chose to begin Zoloft 50 mg po daily.
Choices for Decision 2: Select what the PMHNP should do:
My decision: I chose to increase dose to 75 mg orally daily.
Outcome: RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO:
Client returns to clinic in four weeks and 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)
Choices for Decision 3: Decision Point Three Select what the PMHNP should do next: