Symptoms

K2 and Marijuana

K2 and Marijuana

Patients and clients bear witness to the dangers and adverse effects of K2. How can we capitalize on the principle of social currency and that of peership, to help our patients and clients, like Raj, who uses K2, a dangerous drug with significant adverse effects? After all, this is in line with the principle of harm reduction.

What Causes Addiction?

What Causes Addiction?

Contrary to popular belief, while personal efforts can contribute to one’s attendance to appointments, groups, and to one taking medications as prescribed, addiction or substance use disorders are caused by a combination of bio-psycho-social and cultural factors, and the treatment also requires the same multidimensional approach. As clinicians, it is our role and duty to follow this framework in our assessment, treatment, and approach with our patients and clients, and especially in how we communicate with them and talk about them and about addiction, as a whole.

5 Ways to Serve Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

5 Ways to Serve Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

And so, it went, five questions to ask as part of your New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment. Next time you meet with your patient or client.

Patterns of use;

You will be able to say like Maryann and Edward, “Things have been feeling different with Raj…we feel we have been making a difference in his life.” You also will avoid falling into the trap of unknowingly and unintentionally failing to provide the right care for your patients or clients with substance use disorder.

New Strategies to Working with Individuals with Substance Use Disorder: 5 Benefits

New Strategies to Working with Individuals with Substance Use Disorder: 5 Benefits

You may be failing to provide the right care to your patients and clients with substance use disorder. You may also be using your counter transference and biases to their detriment, unknowingly and unintentionally. Learning the new strategies to working with individuals with substance use disorder will help you avoid falling into this trap. It will also help you promote and practice integrated substance use treatment and mental health care; improve your awareness and advocacy skills on behalf of your patients and clients with substance use disorders; and become a passionate educator to help decrease stigma against substance use disorders.

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Kate looked at Roger and said: “I am feeling more and more empowered each day. Peter is opening up to me.  However, he keeps talking about dying and about his non-stop cough.  How do I best support him?”

Many of the same principles required for supporting someone going through pain and loss can also be applied to assisting someone who is battling a terminal illness.  

Symptom Contextualization: 2 Reasons Why

Symptom Contextualization: 2 Reasons Why

“I used to just equate hearing voices with schizophrenia,” said Clara, a clinician employed at the Hope Center. “Now, I know how naive of me that was. I walked in the room expecting it to be psychosis related to schizophrenia, not realizing that it could have been a physical or a different mental health issue. I feel embarrassed and wonder how often I have misdiagnosed clients who have been under my care,” Clara added.

Psychosis-Symptom Contextualization: 5 rule outs

Psychosis-Symptom Contextualization: 5 rule outs

Farah is a 49-year-old female, who complains of difficulty sleeping (insomnia), feeling sad (depressed mood), and has held the belief that her daughter, Mia, was stealing her money and was trying to poison her food (paranoia).  Ron, the psychiatrist seeing Farah for the first time, examined her and noticed a lump (nodule) in her neck, some hand tremors, and weight loss.  Ron quickly assessed for acute risk, referred Farah to an endocrinologist, who confirmed a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, treated Farah, and the psychiatric symptoms, including paranoia, subsided.

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Arianna’s dream was to become a researcher.  “My older brother has been sick and suffering a lot, and I want to help him and also help stop suffering in the world.”  She often said these words to herself, as a way to remember that keeping her promise alive meant hard work, keeping up with great grades, and maintaining her extracurricular activities.  Arianna wanted to be sure she was doing all the right things to get ready for college and in preparation for graduate school.  At age 15; however, Arianna suddenly developed some unusual and disturbing symptoms…

CBT and Cognitive Distortions: 3 more

CBT and Cognitive Distortions: 3 more

“Talking about these cognitive distortions has been helpful. What are some of the other ones?" Vladimir, a colleague who previously did not think much about CBT, has now become a believer.

After providing the background on CBT and an overview of cognitive restructuring and automatic thoughts, I then started to talk with him about cognitive distortions. Here we discuss 3 more...

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Kate looked at Roger and said: “I am feeling more and more empowered each day. Peter is opening up to me.  However, he keeps talking about dying and about his non-stop cough.  How do I best support him?”

Many of the same principles required for supporting someone going through pain and loss can also be applied to assisting someone who is battling a terminal illness.  

K2: Important Facts all Clinicians Need to Know

K2: Important Facts all Clinicians Need to Know

Part of the new strategies for substance use assessment is arming ourselves with knowledge, so we become more effective at asking, assessing, formulating, implementing, and tracking, as part of the therapeutic process. With this in mind, here are two important facts about K2 that all of us need to know.

New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment: What Causes Addiction?

New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment: What Causes Addiction?

Contrary to popular belief, while personal efforts can contribute to one’s attendance to appointments, groups, and to one taking medications as prescribed, addiction or substance use disorders are caused by a combination of bio-psycho-social and cultural factors, and the treatment also requires the same multidimensional approach. As clinicians, it is our role and duty to follow this framework in our assessment, treatment, and approach with our patients and clients, and especially in how we communicate with them and talk about them and about addiction, as a whole.

New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment: 5 Questions to Ask

New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment: 5 Questions to Ask

And so, it went, five questions to ask as part of your New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment. Next time you meet with your patient or client.

Patterns of use;

You will be able to say like Maryann and Edward, “Things have been feeling different with Raj…we feel we have been making a difference in his life.” You also will avoid falling into the trap of unknowingly and unintentionally failing to provide the right care for your patients or clients with substance use disorder.

New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment: 5 Reasons Why

New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment: 5 Reasons Why

Substance Use Disorder is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment, and any progress made often waxes and wanes. Like Maryann, you may similarly work with patients and clients affected by Substance Use Disorder, and you may no longer know what to do. Part of the answer starts with an effective and comprehensive substance use assessment. 

Mood Stabilizers: Lithium: 10 Things All Clinicians Need to Know

Mood Stabilizers: Lithium: 10 Things All Clinicians Need to Know

“Ron continues to ask me questions about Lithium and the effects on his kidneys and thyroid. I have no idea what he is talking about, but I want to help.” Lily articulated these words to Dawn, as they were getting ready for the weekly talk on Mood Stabilizers. “There is a lot to know about Lithium, and we could spend days just talking about it. 

Mood Stabilizers: The First Five

Mood Stabilizers: The First Five

“I am starting to have an idea about the mood stabilizers. There are so many of them. How do I break them down to learn the basics about each one?”  Lily posed this question to Dawn, who had started with an overview of the Mood Stabilizers.

Mood Stabilizers: The What: 5 Things all Clinicians Need to Know about Them

Mood Stabilizers: The What: 5 Things all Clinicians Need to Know about Them

Mood stabilizers are medications used in the field of psychiatry and neurology to treat conditions that affect the mood. They can help suppress the fluctuations between mania and depression.While mood stabilizers are often used for rapid and short mood changes, they should be used as a last resort.

How to Effectively Deal with Inappropriate Behaviors: “The Rule of 9”

How to Effectively Deal with Inappropriate Behaviors: “The Rule of 9”

In my articles and during SWEET seminars, I often talk about the problem-solving process, and I remind clinicians that part of the process is to first formulate and agree upon the exact defining problem.  I also explain that the next step is to seek to understand what is causing the problem in the first place.  No, I am not talking about the immediate cause.  I am talking about the root cause, and for that we need to go through the process of a root cause analysis.  A root cause analysis may come across as a daunting task.  While it is, indeed, far from a quick fix, we can adopt the “Rule of 9” to help simplify it.