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Patient Case Study: Depression and Anxiety

Info: 8249 words (33 pages) Dissertation
Published: 30th Jul 2021

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Tagged: NursingHealth and Social CareMental Health

Demographics: This is a 32 years old African American female who currently lives in the outskirt of a northeastern state of this country.  She lives with her husband, and three children in a two-bedroom government house. Patient has Medicaid insurance; her primary language is English. The patient is of Catholic faith and currently unemployed. Face obtained information to face interview with the patient and review of medical record.

Thinking about the Diagnosis and treatment plan: The demographic introduce the patient to the Psychiatric Mental Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Patient information is elementary and can be used to initiate possible diagnosis and treatment options for the patient.  In the united states, according to NIMH, it is estimated that one out of 16 million adults are suffering from a major depressive episode in 2012.  Almost 7% of the population. Depression is the leading cause of disability in united states, World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 350 million people worldwide are suffering from depression. Pietrangelo.

A. (2015, January 28). Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.   Folk, J. (2017, April 25).

Thinking about Diagnosis and treatment plan

Patient has no strength, unemployed, homeless, and husband is jobless with children, culture aspect of care, patient brother and mother are not supportive.  Family therapy might be needed.

Cultural aspect discussed below.

Chief Complaint:  Patient reports that “I have been feeling depressed, anxious, and under stress”.

Thinking about diagnosis and treatment:

The patient stated “I have been feeling depressed, anxious and under stress” depression need to be considered as potential diagnosis, the other diagnosis generalized anxiety and sleep apnea disorder due to excessive daytime sleepiness, awakening SOB, frequent arousals, and fatigue. Although the patient has obstructive apnea, the reason she does not sleep much at night is to care for her child. She does have CPAP machine that she uses at night for sleep. It will require further consideration. Patient has been depressed since she was 16 years old and has been on Wellbutrin and Cymbalta: Some medication adjustment followed by family therapy will be effective for treating depression (Pietrangelo, A. (2015, January 28)).

History of Present Illness: Patient’s depression started when she was a teenager. Patient reports being irritable and having occasional crying spells. She frequently has a problem with motivation. She has trouble remembering things and has low energy level. Appetite has been very poor without any weight change. She has obstructive sleep apnea and a child who does not sleep at night due to the medical condition. Due to caring for her child at night, her CPAP machine monitor often indicates that she is not using it as needed She denies any suicidal ideations or thoughts. Patient reports going into “panic mode” where she feels that her whole body will explode. During this period of panic mode, she becomes tachycardic, has difficulty taking a deep breath, elevated blood pressure and sense of impending doom. She reports that these feelings may last about 3 hours and has on two occasions lasted about three days. This panic mode she communicates comes after periods of not able to pay her monthly bills. She went to the clinic today because she is becoming more irritable and anxious than usual.

Thinking about the diagnosis and treatment

The history of present illness supports a determination of the Major depressive disorder. The DSM-V criteria were met in the above patient demography. Further discussion will be presented in the differential diagnosis section. Patient exhibit some anxiety, as she mentioned of being anxious and stress. The patient goes into panic attack due to inability to pay her bills, and husband is also jobless. Other support measures will be further. Treatment measures will address depression and anxiety, and the family situation will be considered. Folk, J. (2017, April 25).

Psychiatric History: Patient reports that when she was 16 years old, she cut her wrists because of a relationship with her boyfriend.  The relationship ended because she moved to another state. She admitted it was an unwise decision when she was taken to the hospital for treatment, but she was not hospitalized.  There is no history of psychiatric hospitalization. At about 17 years old, she saw a psychologist briefly due to some issues in her life that were not fully revealed by the patient. She has used Cymbalta up to 60 mg and Wellbutrin up to 200 mg twice daily at various times. The Cymbalta was slightly helpful; following patient medication was changed to Wellbutrin by another physician to reduce her cigarette craving.  She reports that the depression has been poorly controlled, but tobacco usage has been tapered down. She denies any treatment with a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Thinking about the diagnosis and treatment

The patient suffered psychiatric damages due to her relationship ending. She was taken to the hospital for her damaged skin but not admitted because of the shallow cut. She probably saw a psychologist because she previously had a suicide or self-harm experience. She now smokes.  Patient has had no prior history of psychiatric hospitalization but, has seen a psychologist briefly due to some issues in her life that she not reveals. Teaching will be included in all aspect of the patient’s treatment plans, which provides: medication, therapy, and diagnosis tools Pietrangelo, A. (2015, January 28).

Medical History:  

Allergies:  Penicillin

No known environmental or food allergies

Childhood illness: Reports having usual childhood illnesses but cannot recall specific ones.

Surgery:  Bilateral tubal ligation in 2007 and partial hysterectomy in 2004 for menorrhagia.  The patient has had several miscarriages.

Immunizations: All childhood immunizations were completed; including hepatitis A & B series.

Medical diagnoses: Hypertension, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Gastric Esophageal Reflux

Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic back pain, Obesity, Hypercholesterolemia.

Psychiatric diagnosis: depression

Last menstrual period: 10/22/14

Last Pap smear: June 2013. Result was negative

Recommended mammogram:  Not appropriate age.  No family history. Patient reports seeing her OBGYN regularly for preventive care and perform self- breast examination at least five times a week

Medications:  Wellbutrin 200 mg b.i.d. (depression)

Cymbalta 30 mg PO daily (pain)

L-thyroxin 100mcg PO daily (hypothyroidism)

Lisinopril 20mg PO daily (hypertension)

Hydrochlorothiazide 25mg PO daily (hypertension)

Metformin 800mg PO BID (Diabetes)

Zocor 20mg PO daily (cholesterol)

Ultram 75mg PO PRN q6hrs for pain

Prevacid 15mg PO daily for GERD

Over-the-counter: Multivitamins.

Herbal: Denied.

Thinking about diagnosis and treatment: 

The patient sees OBGYN regularly for preventive care and performs self-care breast exam five times a week, also has her last pap smear done in 2013. No known medical problem during patient childhood age.

Endocrine Disorders: Endocrinology disorders involving the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis or thyroid are especially likely to produce changes in mood. These include Addison disease, Cushing syndrome, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism. The endocrine disorder must be rule out because the patient has hypothyroidism. However, her recent thyroid tests were regular. The symptoms the patient is exhibiting that may be related to the hypothyroid problem include fatigue, difficulty taking a deep breath, poor memory, and weight change (Sadock, Sadock, & Ruiz, 2015).

Developmental History: The patient was born at full term virginal birth, started walking with assistance at nine months and finally walking without support at 12 months old.

Thinking about the diagnosis and treatment

The patient was born by a healthy pregnancy, reported by the best of her ability. She started walking without assistance at 12 months old. Patient has no evidence of developmental delays or issue from birth. The patient was born in the southern part of the country; patient has past young adulthood still her mental health problems are affecting her ability to secure a job, which is a primary developmental focus. Functional impairment is common in depression; this may persist more than symptoms. It needs to be assessed. (Culpepper, 2016)

Education History: The patient stopped school twice, due to her illness, she was able to earn her GED after marriage. She never fails any grade and attended regular school.

Thinking about the diagnosis and treatment plan

Patient quit high school twice. Due to her depression. She stopped before the last semester of her senior year. She got her GED after getting married.  The patient will require learning a trade or continue education in adulthood if diagnoses are well managed.

Substance use history: 

Caffeine: The patient has two or three drinks per day of coffee. She started drinking at age 14. Still drinks coffee

Tobacco: She consumes a pack of cigarettes a week given that she began Wellbutrin and before that time she had been smoking one-half pack per day. Her first smoking experience was at age 15.

Alcohol: Denied. It is essential to know if the patient drinks alcohol because a lot of psychoactive medications can have an adverse interaction with alcohol.

Illicit drugs: Denied.

Thinking about Diagnosis and treatment plans:

This patient has no history of illicit drugs, she also denies the use of alcohol, but smokes a pack of cigarettes a week, the patient also has 2-3 drinks per day. The patient will be encouraged to attend a rehabilitation session to assist with smoking, also reduce the intake of caffeine.

Personal/Social History: The patient was born in southern part of the country. She and her husband moved to Baltimore in 2005 because her husband had lost his trucking job and they had become homeless. They moved here to stay with family members but had to be evicted because the house was sold.  She has a 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old twins (a boy and a girl). She got married 11 years ago and presently seeking employment with Safeway supermarket. She has an upcoming interview next week. She is of the Catholic faith, but only occasionally attends church. She and her family have had some difficulties with their church of choice. At one point, the pastor accused her husband of theft of his laptop computer and a credit card; even though, it was later shed to light that one of the young people in the church had been the culprit and no apology was ever given to her husband. Again, both couples were assisting their pastor on a yard sale, the proceeds from the yard sales were stolen, including some discount cards, the patient husband was accursed again, but the thief was later discovered. Still the church never apologizes for the false accusation.

Thinking about the Diagnosis and the treatment plans:

Her personal and social history has proved that patient lack good functional ability, which is consistent with depression. Patient has been raising her twice 7yrs old’s and a 10yr old’s daughter; patient has not worked for a long time, her husband worked up until, he lost his job. The patient will require learning a skill, by attending a trade school. (Culpeper, L (2016)).

Family History: Patient reports that her mother was adopted. Her mother has depression, and possibly bipolar disorder. Mother has had substance abuse problems, mainly cannabis and alcohol. Her great-grandmother on paternal side had Alzheimer’s disease, died in 2008 at age 82. Patient’s son has ADHD. Her aunt on maternal side has hypothyroidism.  Diabetes and hypertension are present on both family sides. Her father does not have a psychiatric history. The patient reported that she loves her children and will do anything for them.  Patient has one brother that lives in another state. He does not have any psychiatric illness.

Thinking about the diagnosis and treatment plan

Family history shows that mother was depressed with history of substance abuse, but father and brother have no psychiatric problem. Grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes and hypertension are in both families, maternal aunty had a history of hypothyroidism. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) are using to measure the severity of depression and patient symptoms. The early screening will help with diagnosis and treatment modalities.

Cultural History:  Patient said that she is a family-oriented person, but due to the current problem she is having, her brother and mother are not supportive. She said that there are not any specific cultural issues in her family. She does not feel discriminated against in the neighborhood they live. She expressed that her husband has been supportive, but it has been tough on him as well.

Thinking about Diagnosis and treatment plans:

The patient is family oriented however because of the current problem of her mental health; her brother and mother are not supportive. She does not feel discriminated against in her neighborhood though she does not feel like an outsider. Her husband has been supportive even though things have been rough. No known cultural issues in her family. (Pietrangelo, A. (2015, January 28)).

Review of Systems:

General Health: patient reports no recent fever or sweats. She states her last physical exam was October 2013.

Thinking process: The patient seems to be in good physical health since she reports no recent fever or sweats.

HEENT: The patient states that she needs eyeglasses but cannot afford to buy them.  Last eye exam was two years ago. She has no blurred vision, eye pain, redness or diplopia. She reports no problem with hearing, no discharge from the ear.  She denies hearing or seeing things that others do not see or hear. She has no nasal congestion, epistaxis.  She has a complete set of own teeth. She does not wear dentures and visited dentist two years ago. She denies throat pain or hoarseness.   She denies neck stiffness or neck pain.

Thinking process

The patient needs eye glasses but cannot afford them.  Her eyes are fine. She suffered from no blurred vision, eye pain, redness or diplopia. She has no nasal congestion. Her last dentist appointment was two years ago. No throat pain and denies any neck pain. The patient will be referred to an ophthalmologist and a dentist for further evaluations. Those with migraines about 25% of them report to having depression.

(Harvard Health Publications (2016))

Cardiovascular: Patient denies chest pain or palpitations.

Thinking Process: Patient denies any chest pain.

Respiratory:  She denies difficulty breathing, however, when she starts having a panic attack,

Thinking Process:  Patient has difficulty breathing during panic attacks

Gastrointestinal: She reports recurrent epigastric pain, relieved with Prevacid. Patient has no history of liver disease. She denies nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, no blood in stool or black tarry stool

Thinking Process: Patient reports recurrent epigastric pain that is relieved with Prevacid. Since the patient has no history of liver disease, denies nausea, vomiting, and no blooding stool.  Endocrine: Patient reports she has hypothyroidism. She states no current tenderness or enlargement of thyroid glands.

Thinking Process: Although patient reports hypothyroidism, she has no current enlargement of thyroid glands. Hypothyroidism has been found in the patient with depressive disorder.

Genitourinary: She reports stress incontinence. Patient denies hesitancy, burning on urination or hematuria. Patient last gynecological examination was in 2013.

Thinking Process; she reports stress incontinence, however, she also patient denies hesitancy or burning on urination or hematuria

Dermatological: she denies any rash, dryness, color change or abnormalities of hair and nails

Thinking Process: She denies any rashes, color change or abnormalities of hair and nails.

Musculoskeletal: Reports having chronic back pain. Patient reports having nerve ablation but thinks that the nerves have been growing back which has made the pain worse. The patient also has right knee pain usually relieved by taking Cymbalta.

Thinking Process: due to the patient chronic back pain, patient is on Cymbalta, an SNRI antidepressant used for treating depression, anxiety, and pain.

Neurologic: Reports no history of seizures. She was having migraine headaches, and she was diagnosed with restless leg syndrome. Patient verbalized that when she was little, she fell on brick blocks and hit her head, losing consciousness. Her brother accidentally hit her on the head one day when they were playing in the yard during second grade but did not lose consciousness.

Thinking Process: With no history of seizures the patient just has reported having migraines and diagnosed with restless leg syndrome. When she was little, she fell on a brick

Hematological: patient reports no known hematological disorder (Seidel, 2015).

Thinking Process: She has reported no known hematological disorder (Seidel,2015)

Mental Status Exam:

General appearance: Dressed appropriately for the season. Grooming is good. The patient appears older than stated age.

Thinking Process: Patient dressed appropriately for the season

Behavior during the interview: Arrived on time. Cooperative, alert, and pleasant.

Thinking Process: During the interview, the patient was cooperative, alert, and pleasant.  The patient also arrived on time

  Social skills: Had good eye contact. Reports reduced socialization.

Thinking process: patient maintained good eye contact.

Orientation:  Aware of person, place and time.

Thinking Process: Patient is within a reasonable range of self-aware

Memory: Memory was good for immediate recall of interviewer’s name.  Thinking process: Able to spell the word “twitter” in forwarding and backward directions correctly. The patient can recall last four presidents of the country.

Speech patterns: Very circumstantial and tangential with rate and tone.

Thinking Process:   Patient speech patterns seem normal.

Thought clarity: Clear

Thought content: She denies auditory or visual hallucinations. She denies suicidal and homicidal ideation.

Thought process: No overt sign of psychosis, goal-directed.

Mood: Depressed, anxiety level is moderate.

Affect: Consistent with mood

Thinking process: Patient has clarity. Patient denies suicidal and homicidal ideation.

Insight and Judgment: Appropriate. Able to explain what she will do if when she gets to a stop sign while driving, she responded: “I will stop”. She states that she needs help with her mental health.

Intellectual functioning: Intelligence is average.  The patient was able to complete initial interview and consent forms.

Abstract thinking: She can interpret the proverb “make hay while the sun shines” means to work hard while you can and save up for the future (Keltner, Bostrom & McGuiness, 2011).

Neurological Exam:

Height: 5’4″

Weight: 250lbs

Blood pressure: 132/88

Pulse: 82 Respiration: 18

Cranial nerves:

Olfactory function: Coffee or perfume are frequently utilized in testing of olfactory function.

Peripheral vision tested by asking the patient to cover one eye and to look at interviewer’s nose. Interviewer wiggles simultaneously both index fingers of right and left hands. In the fields.  The patient was able to state correctly the side that moved. Acuity was tested by using the Snellen chart (near and distant vision). Visual fields continue the confrontation. III, IV, VI –   Pupils are equal and reactive to light and accommodation. For lateral and vertical gaze, patient was asked follow interviewer’s finger horizontally and vertically. She was able to state how many fingers she saw. There is no nystagmus noted

V –       The cheek is touch lightly with a wisp of cotton with eyes closed. She was able to feel the sensation.

The patient was asked to smile: there is no weakness noted on either side of the face.

The Weber test: during a Weber test, a turning folk is held against the fore heard in the midline, and a vibration is equally perceived in both ears, because bone conduction is equal. During hearing loss conduction, the abnormal ear carries louder sound than the ear. In sensorineural hearing loss, the normal ear is more dominant. To perform the Rinne test used to evaluate loss of hearing in one ear, its perception of sounds transmitted by air conduction to those by bone conduction through the mastoid. A patient with normal hearing continue to hear the sound. During conductive hearing loss, sounds diminish, its shows the bone conduction is better than air conduction

In a sensorineural hearing loss, air and bone conduction decreases to a similar extent

IX, X- Tongue depression with the use of a turning blade.  The soft palate was touched, and gag reflex was noticed. Both soft palates retract symmetrically.

The patient was asked to raise her shoulders against the manual resistance of the interviewer. Able to shrug both shoulders symmetrically.

To test the hypoglossal nerve, the patient was asked to protrude the tongue, no deviation of tongue noted.

Assessment tools: 

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale is widely used in the county to rate the patient level of depression in an inpatient setting.  Many versions have been tailored, including well thought-out interview guides, introspective forms, and computerized versions. In the original clinician-administered scale, the first 17 topics are tallied for the total score, while topics 18-21 are used to measure depression. The scale is measure in 20-30 mins. Scores within 0-7 are standard, and scores greater than or equal to 20, shows moderately severe depression. Each topic is scored on a 5-point scale or 3-point scale, Showing absent, doubtful, or present symptoms (Heslop, 2014).

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was founded by Aaron beck in 1961 to be the most widely used self-rating scale. It is used to observe symptom of depression among depressed patients. BDI consists of emotional, behavioral, and somatic symptoms which takes 5-10 minutes to administer; each item was scored and measured, sore of 10- 18 indicates Mild depression, 19-29 indicate moderate Depression, and greater than 30 shows severe depression (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Lab/ Diagnostic Tests:

Glucose: 98. Within Normal Limit.

Thyroid: Free T4 (1.27ng/ld.), TSH (3.41mU/L)

Cholesterol: 168mg.dL

Triglycerides: 74mg/dl.

HDL: 55mg/dl.

LDL: 110mg/dl.

Albumin: 4.5. All patients’ labs are within normal limit (Fischbach& Dunning, 2009). The labs were done to determine if some of the symptoms the patient is experiencing are related to her medical condition. Some medical conditions have psychiatric symptoms when not treated.

Differential Diagnosis:  

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Patient reports a time when she goes into panic mode, where she feels her body is going to explode. DSM V criteria for GAD include excessive anxiety and worry, restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, irritability, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating or feeling of impending doom (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).   Sleep Disorder: of the various sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea can cause significant medical and psychiatric symptoms and is often missed as a diagnosis. Patients should be interviewed regarding their sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and snoring.  DSM V criteria for sleep disorder include excessive daytime sleepiness, awakening SOB, frequent arousals, and fatigue. Although the patient has obstructive apnea, the reason she does not sleep much at night is to care for her child. She does have CPAP machine that she uses at night for sleep.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): The patient had a history of depression which has been poorly controlled with Wellbutrin. However, based on the symptoms she is presenting, recurrent depression must be ruled out. DSM- V criteria for major depressive disorder include;

Depressed Mood,

Loss of interest and enjoyment in usual activities

Reduced energy and decreased activity

Reduced self-esteem and confidence

Ideas of guilt and unworthiness

Pessimistic thoughts

Disturbed sleep

Diminished appetite

Ideas of self-harm


F33.2- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Depression is a common and complicated Illness. The lifetime prevalence of the major depressive disorder in the United States is about 16% (Amanda et al. 2009).  The study endorsed at least two current symptoms of depression found that current major depressive disorder was present in 66% cases. The annual prevalence rate is up to 25% in the patient with the chronic medical illness. Risk factors are multifactorial and include genetics, medical, social and environmental factors. Initial patient presentation of major depression can be a variety of physical symptoms including a headache, musculoskeletal pain, abdominal/pelvic pain, mood symptoms and cognitive changes. Depression is highly recurrent. In a study conducted by Bentley, Pagalilauan & Simpson (2014), of 200 patients who have recovered from an episode of major depressive disorder, 64% experienced at least one additional of major depression with the risk of recurrence in the first month after recovery. A history of the most predictive factor for additional episodes of major depressive disorder and each increase the risk of experiencing another by 16%.

Many symptoms of major depression are shared by other medical illness and complicating diagnosis. Anyone in whom depression is suspected must be screened for substance dependence including marijuana, prescription drug diversion, and especially alcohol. Substance dependence is common among patients with depression, may induce or exacerbate depressed mood and associated risk. The patient denied use of alcohol or substance. Many medical conditions cause depressive symptoms like fatigue, changes in eating and sleeping pattern, and even hyper/hypo activity, but these medical illnesses are less likely to induce cognitive distortions typical of major depression, such as low mood.

The patient assessment revealed that she has insomnia, poor appetite, crying spells, and irritable which are consistent with diagnoses of depression. The patient has been depressed since teenage years and based on the stressors in her life (unemployment, a sick child, medical problems, and inability to pay bills have worsened the depression. Based on all these stressors, the symptoms the patient present with, and DSM V criteria, the diagnoses of major depression without psychotic features were chosen.


Cultural Accommodations:     

The patient is African American and practices Catholic faith. The patient believes that her illness is not permanent and prayer to a higher being will help her through the ordeal. Religion and religious behaviors are an integral part of the African-American community. African Americans take their seriously, and they expect to receive a message in preaching that helps them in their daily lives (Purnell, 2013). African Americans believe strongly in use of prayer for all situations they may encounter; prayer reflects the trust and faith one has in God. Spiritual practices are a source of comfort, coping, and support which are most effective ways to influence healing. God is responsible for physical and spiritual health, and the doctor is perceived as God’s instrument in the healing process.

Low educational level among African Americans may limit their access to information about etiology and treatment of mental illness. Some African Americans hold a stigma against mental illness. They believe that anyone diagnosed with mental illness is “crazy”.  Such a person may not fit into the society, and when they make decisions, it is irrational or irrelevant.  The high frequency of misdiagnosis among African Americans contributes to their reluctance to trust mental health professionals (Purnell, 2013). When caring for patients from diverse cultures, the Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner (PMHP) should become aware of cultural differences and worldviews. A PMHP should acknowledge his or her biases regarding different views and should have a basic understanding of the cultural areas that should be assessed during interaction with patients (Drake, 2013).

The patient could express her view of her cultural belief during the interview. Although she had said that she does not attend church regularly, she claims to pray daily with her children and husband. She is family oriented, but due to circumstances she did not explain, she had distance herself from her sibling and mother.

Medications /Medications Adjustments:

The patient will continue with Wellbutrin 200mg twice daily for depression. Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) and an efficacious antidepressant. It selectively inhibits neuronal reuptake of dopamine. Its antidepressant effect is related to CNS stimulant effects. Wellbutrin has been proven to be effective in the treatment of nicotine addiction (Stahl, 2013).

Clinical observation of depressed patients with Dopamine transporter inhibitor (DAT) and Norepinephrine transporter inhibition (NET) has the mechanism of Wellbutrin since this agent appears especially useful in targeting the symptoms of “reduced positive effect” within the affective spectrum.

Since the patient wants to quit smoking, Wellbutrin can help, although another option of will is discussed further with patient below. When Wellbutrin is administered, a little bit of dopamine is released in the nucleus accumbens, making the craving less but usually not eliminating it (Stahl, 2013). This medication was chosen because it will help with patient’s depression and assist with reducing the craving for smoking (patient smokes one pack of cigarette daily).

The patient will also continue with Cymbalta 30mg daily for symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and chronic back pain. Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) used for treating depression, anxiety disorder, and pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy or fibromyalgia (Tran & Castle, 2012). Cymbalta boost serotonin and norepinephrine throughout the brain, it also boosts dopamine specifically in the prefrontal cortex. This medication was chosen because it will help with patient’s unexplained chronic back pain and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

Laboratory/diagnostic with rationales:

Depression and anxiety are suspected diagnosis made based on patient history and physical findings. “No diagnostic laboratory tests are available to diagnose the major depressive disorder or anxiety disorder, but focused laboratory studies may be useful to exclude possible medical illnesses that may present as major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. These laboratory studies might include the following: Vitamin B-12, HIV test, Electrolytes, including calcium, phosphate, and magnesium levels, Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, Liver function tests (LFTs), and Blood alcohol level (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2015). In HIV patients, anxiety disorder and depression are a significant problem. Major depression is a risk factor for HIV by its impact on behavior, intensification of substance abuse, and exacerbation of self-destructive behavior. Thyroid function test is most commonly monitored through thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Low levels (hypothyroidism) can mimic symptoms of mental illnesses or exasperate the symptoms of mental illness. Lithium can include hypothyroidism. Low B12 levels can impersonate symptoms of mental illnesses” (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2015).

Neuroimaging can help clarify the nature of the neurologic illness that may produce psychiatric symptoms, but these studies are costly and may be of questionable value in patients without discrete neurologic deficits. Computed tomography (CT) scanning or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain should be considered if organic brain syndrome or hypopituitarism is included in the differential diagnosis (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2015). Because the patient complains of an occasional headache, suggesting MRI may be an option.  Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging provides the means for the study of receptor binding of ligands and the effect a compound may have on receptors. However, PET scanning is problematic for use because it requires complex equipment and uses radiation.

Assessment tools with rationales:

Although no tool was used during psychiatric assessment of the above patient, some tools available: Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS).  It is imperative to assess the patient using the AIMS tool because the patient has been prescribed psychoactive medications. The AIMS record the amount of tardive dyskinesia (TD) in patients getting neuroleptic medications.

The AIMS test is used to distinguish TD and to follow the severity of a patient’s TD over time.

The AIMS is a 12-item anchored scale that is clinician given and scored on the rate of 0-4 (0 = none, 4=severe) based on the assessment. The AIMS is a global rating method. The AIMS require the raters to compare the observed movements to the average movement disturbance seen in person with TD. Such relative judgments may differ among raters with diverse backgrounds and knowledge (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The patient will score 0 after administering this tool because she showed no abnormal movement or sign of TD.

Another tool that can be used for assessing the patient is the PHQ-9 patient depression questionnaire (PHQ-9). The PHQ-9 was developed to assist clinicians with diagnosis of depressive disorder and to monitor the severity overtime for newly diagnosed patients or patients in current treatment for depression. Since the patient has been diagnosed with depression as a teenager, using the PHQ-9 questionnaire will be appropriate. There are 10 questions with rating scale of 0-3 (0= not at all, 3=nearly every day) that shows how often the patient experience any depressive symptoms over the last two weeks. Once the patient completes the questionnaire by checking the appropriate box, the score is calculated (1-4= minimal depression, 20-27 = severe depression). Based on the score, a definitive diagnosis was made on clinical grounds, which is based patient understanding of the questionnaire and other information provided by the patient. The patients may complete the PHQ-9 questionnaire at baseline and at regular intervals at home and bring them in at their next appointment for scoring (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Referral with rationales:

The patient will be referred to a community job enrichment program to assist her with getting a job.  As such, she can have additional income to support her monthly bills. She can attend with her husband if needed. Also, the patient will be referred to home health agencies in the community that can provide supportive care to her child at night so that she can sleep, thus preventing exacerbation of her obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The patient will be referred to her primary care physician to discuss how to better manage her medical conditions. A study conducted by Sampaio, Pereira & Winck (2011) finds indirect physical and psychological complications associated with OSA. Such complications include hypertension, heart disease, heart failure, stroke, impairment in neurocognitive functioning, and elevated psychological symptoms. Direct effect that OSA can cause daytime fatigue, disturbed sleep, irritability, memory problems, and decreased the quality of life. The patient did report some of these symptoms when giving the history of present illness. Although the patient has continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at home, it is not used because she must care for her child at night. Intervention studies have demonstrated that treatment of OSA via CPAP use resulted in improvement in depressive symptoms and panic attacks (Sampaio, Pereira & Winck, 2011).

Therapy with rationales 

The patient and her husband will benefit from couples’ therapy. The family is the foundation on which most societies are built. Couples and family therapy has demonstrated to have a clear role in the treatment of numerous specific psychiatric disorders, often as a component of a multi-method treatment (Sadock, Sadock, & Ruiz, 2015). The patient will also be referred to Exercise Pulmonary Rehabilitation (EPR).  This is non-pharmacological interventions that address patient physical and psychological wellbeing with OSA. EPR is used for improvement in the management of chronic respiratory disease, the program takes three sessions of supervised exercise per weeks, along with education and psychosocial support, which significantly reduce anxiety and depression more than standard care in patients with OSA (Heslop, 2014).

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is drawn from both behavioral and cognitive theories Cognitive models of emotional response propose that our thoughts strongly influence our feeling and behavior. One fundamental principle of CBT is that patient thinking affects their feelings and symptom in which they experience (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2015). Patient understanding of their illness affects how they feel. Counseling through talking therapy allows the patient to verbalize their feelings with a private setting (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2015). It has been proven effective among patient struggling through traumatic effect in life, patient verbalizes their feeling, without a judge, and those feelings are converted to a positive solution the above therapy options are free for the patient in the community, and she will be advised to take advantage of them.

Health Promotion: 

The level of obesity in mental illness is approximately 1.5-2.0 time higher than the general population. Several factors have been found to contribute to obesity among people with mental illness.  The effect of metabolic in second-generation antipsychotic medications leads to obesity; this includes weight gain, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia (Mckibbin, Kitchen, Wykes & Lee, 2013).  The above patient will be advised to engage in more physical activity that can help promote weight loss because she currently weighs 250 lbs and it could be detrimental to her health. Also, the patient will be referred to community dietician and diabetes educator that will assist patient in planning her diet to make them healthier. Obesity increase mental health problem even with the control of demographic and medical issues Obesity is known to be the most common risk factor of cardiovascular disease, leading to number one cause of death in mental health patients. Additionally, obesity has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, causing a significant reduction in the level of functioning. By following a healthy diet, and becoming physically active, patient’s medical condition (diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia) will be better controlled.

Patient Education:

An important part of education for the patient includes strategies for coping with anxiety and depression. The study conducted by Cairns, Hill, Dark, McPhail & Gray (2012) concluded that poor adherence to prescribed treatment regimens undermines treatment benefits and reduces the predictability of medication action, increasing the likelihood of symptoms relapse, longer recovery times, the frequency of hospitalization and sustained functional impairment. The negative sequela of medication nonadherence as explained to the patient is that it can result in reduced quality of life for her, her /families and her potential career.

The patient was educated about symptoms of mental illness and available resources. Risk, benefits, and side effects of current medications such as dry mouth, constipation, blurred visions, and risk of toxicity with different medications were discussed. The patient was informed in detail about the risk of diabetes mellitus and hypothyroidism. Also, the patient was educated to try nicotine patch as a beginning strategy for smoking cessation and to choose from the above-recommended therapy. She was able to ask questions, discuss the side effects in detail and verbalized understanding of the teachings. She said that she will get back to the Practitioner regarding the nicotine patch at next visit.

Legal issues: 

The patient is currently in outpatient treatment clinic for management of her mental health. There is no indication currently to commit the patient to an inpatient facility because she is not a danger to herself and others. Upon arrival at the clinic, the patient signed a confidentiality agreement form after brief education regarding how her medical information will be used. Also, a consent form for any medications prescribed was signed by the patient. A copy of the confidentiality agreement and consent form was given to the patient. The patient does not have any legal charges that could impede her treatment regimen at this time.

Discharge planning/follow up:

The patient will return in two weeks to the clinic for follow up visit.  The patient will continue taking medications as prescribed to help manage her anxiety and depression. Patient has been given the emergency access phone number to the local crisis center and encouraged to call 911 if symptoms become severe. The patient will continue with treatment at this clinic.

The study articles that were used to support the notes were graded using Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM, 2011). The articles grade of recommendation is “A” and level of evidence is “1b” because they all used randomized control trial, where participants were assigned to groups. This system eliminates participant and researchers’ bias, which can compromise result of the trial. The outcome of the studies suggested that the result of the studies could be applied to the clinical setting.


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Mental Health relates to the emotional and psychological state that an individual is in. Mental Health can have a positive or negative impact on our behaviour, decision-making, and actions, as well as our general health and well-being.

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