Treatment

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.

Two Crucial Facts About K2

Two Crucial Facts About K2

New strategies for substance use assessment will help us master the needed skills, so we can continue to do the best work possible for our patients and clients, helping with relapse prevention, promoting full recovery, paying attention to integrated care, lessening fragmented care, and feeling gratified, as we continue to do this challenging though noble work.

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.

Steps to Integrate Substance Use Treatment and Mental Health Services

Steps to Integrate Substance Use Treatment and Mental Health Services

Split treatment remains a challenge and has been shown to be detrimental to our patients and clients. This becomes more significant when it involves a patient population with several comorbidities. Patients with both mental health and substance use treatment needs are particularly vulnerable to split treatment, and integrating substance use treatment and mental health services is not only advised but also essential if we are to make meaningful changes.

Making a Difference in the Lives of Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

Making a Difference in the Lives of Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

The first five questions, described in the previous article, help with establishing rapport, with joining in, and with understanding and formulating a plan. Once you have reached this point, it is time to go to the next step that will prepare you to problem solve. This step involves having a clear picture of the magnitude of substance use, including the related consequences; assessing the stage of change for your patient and client; and discovering which barriers need to be overcome. Here are the five additional questions to ask when conducting a strategic substance use assessment, as part of this second phase.

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.

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

The system has its role to play. It needs to empower clinicians and advocates, patients and clients, if there are interests in decreasing staff turnover and restoring trust. If burnout is to be addressed and prevented and self-care promoted, we all have to work together. And, these efforts must be supported by the system, if we are to reach our goals and continue working effectively and with the passion with which we came into this field.

Clinician Burnout: What’s In It for Agencies?

Clinician Burnout: What’s In It for Agencies?

“It is rather strange to me that all of us in this room came into this field because we love people, we love to help, we want to make a difference in their lives, and yet, suddenly, we all feel defeated and left with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness and, sometimes, even worse than our own clients.” Paul uttered these words with frustration in his voice, as the rest of the group stared at him in disbelief and then at one another and at Rodis, the consultant and group facilitator.

Burnout: An Epidemic

Burnout: An Epidemic

Cynicism, depression, and lethargy are some of the manifestations of burnout. Burnout is present in about 21-67% of mental health professionals. The ramifications can be devastating for our patients and clients, our clinicians and advocates, and for our agencies and the healthcare system, as a whole. Burnout can and must be prevented. Self-care can and must be promoted. Here are four reasons why.

Borderline Personality Disorder: The Role of the Agency and the System

Borderline Personality Disorder: The Role of the Agency and the System

A lack of purpose and direction in treatment has been one of the factors contributing to feeling drained when working with patients and clients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. This draining propensity is rather common; it adds to negative countertransference and leads to clinician resistance to working with these patients and clients.

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.  

5 tips to help engage your patients and clients

5 tips to help engage your patients and clients

Patient and client engagement is a challenge across all aspects of clinical care and more so in mental health, especially for those who feel forced into treatment. There is no single best definition for patient or client engagement, but I usually describe it as the active patient and client involvement in his or her care for best outcomes. 

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...

Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health

Common to most community health clinics, waiting areas are usually crowded with patients to be seen, and it was no different this time for staff psychiatrist, Dr. Davidman. Though newly recruited, he managed to quickly develop a “well-liked” reputation with patients, generally greeting everyone waiting to be seen. "I notice many things in this waiting area, but one thing catches my attention the most: many clients and patients often stop me to ask for food." This was the doctor’s personal reflection about complex issues that needed direct attention.

Engaging Challenging Patients and Clients – Wood Did It Best

Engaging Challenging Patients and Clients – Wood Did It Best

“I’m here because of Mr. Wood. For the first time, I felt like someone listened to me, treated me with respect and like a human being.” Jose said this to Danie at the front desk, when he arrived for his first follow up visit with Wood.

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.  

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (agency and system’s perspective)

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (agency and system’s perspective)

A lack of purpose and direction in treatment has been one of the factors contributing to feeling drained when working with patients and clients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. This draining propensity is rather common; it adds to negative countertransference and leads to clinician resistance to working with these patients and clients.