The main goal of prescribing medication for treatment for alcohol use disorder is abstinence, which remains a primary treatment focus. However, decrease of heavy drinking can be accepted as an alternative treatment goal, especially if unwanted risks (health, social and financial) are reduced.
The client returns four weeks after the injections, she has been sober since receiving injection, she denies any side effects from medications. The main chief complaint is gambling, but client is also concerned about her smoking and anxiety.
Refer to a Counselor for Gambling Issues
Rationale: Several different types of therapy are used to treat gambling disorder, including cognitive behavior therapy, psychodynamic therapy, group therapy and family therapy (American Psychiatric Association, 2016) As recent, there is no FDA approved pharmacotherapy for gambling disorder. But, pharmacotherapy approaches for problem gambling can be effective when directed toward the patient’s comorbid psychiatric condition such as bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD), and substance abuse.
The client was concerned about her smoking and appeared to be motivated to stop smoking, hence adding medication to assist her to quit would have been a reasonable approach to avoid health complications (e.g cardiovascular, pulmonary) associated with smoking. However, I did not select the answer as the starting dosage (Varenicline 1mg PO BID) was slightly higher than recommended starting dose. Initial 0.5 mg/day; after 3 days increase to 1 mg/day in two divided doses; after 4 days can increase to 2 mg/day in two divided dose(Stahl, 2017) . Starting at a higher would have increased the possibilities of adverse effects such nausea, vomiting and even agitation.
Adding Diazepam (Valium) would not be a good option, as Valium is an addictive benzodiazepine with longer-lasting effects than other drugs in its class. In the light of the client’s history substance use disorder and addiction, adding another addictive substance such as valium would cause more harm.
The client returns in four weeks, reports that anxiety has gone. Client reports not liking the therapist, but she has joined gambling anonymous group.
Decision Number Three
Explore the issue that Mrs Lopez is having with her counselor, and encourage her to continue attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings
Rationale: Despite that Mrs. Lopez did not have a good relationship with the counselor, but she remained committed to fighting her addiction by joining Gamblers Anonymous group. Still, counseling remains the main approach in gambling addiction treatment, hence exploring the issues that Mrs. Lopez had with counselor would help to guide the next step in treatment. Also, smoking cessation needs to be explored at this time. Assessing the client’s willingness to quit is the first step as smokers differ in their readiness to change their tobacco use (Niaura, 2017). Understanding the smokers’ perspectives is essential to providing useful assistance.