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Building Your Mental Health ToolboxChristina O’Neill MSW
Common Psychiatric SymptomsCommon Psychiatric DiagnosisCommonly Used MedicationsQuick Guide to Suicide AssessmentCase Management tools
CommonPsychiatricSymptoms(Identifying What You Are Seeing)
Psychosis:collection of symptoms that make it difficult for a person to connect withreality. Caninclude positive symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech/ behavior or negative symptoms such as catatonic behavior, psychomotor retardation, lack of speech, social withdrawal.Delusions:belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument.Hallucinations:an experience involving the apparent perception of something notpresent;they can be auditory, visual or sensory. Audio hallucinations will sometime consist of “voices” and they can have a command component in which they might instruct the person to do something.Mania:(or hypomania- similar behavior lasting shorter amount of time and usually not as extreme). Inflated self-esteem/ grandiose thinking, decrease need for sleep/ flight of ideas/ pressured talking/ distractibility/excessive involvement in pleasurable activities with potential for negativeoutcome.Additional Symptoms caninclude:ExtremeAgitation/Irritability, Disorganization, Ideasofreference, Tic’s/ Repetitivebehaviors, Poorimpulsecontrol, Self Harm, ParanoidThinking
Common Psychiatric DiagnosisPsychiatric diagnosis are made by observing a collection of symptoms- these definitions are not meant to be all inclusive as there are many exceptions to the rules- these are simply meant to give you a basic understanding of the diagnosis
Bipolar:Mood Disorder characterized by having episodes of mania, hypomania, depression or combination of both (mania and depression). Episodes of severe mania can resemble a psychotic state. Subtypes: Bipolar I (1 or more manic episode- sometimes with a depressive episode) and Bipolar II (1 or more depressive episode and at least 1 hypomanic episode).Major Depression:Depressed mood, episode lasts more than 2 weeks, disruptive to lifestyle (diminished pleasure, sleep/ eating disturbances, diminished capacity to concentrate or think).Schizophrenia:Psychotic disorder characterized by having episodes lasting a significant period of time (1 month or more untreated) of delusions/ hallucinations/ disorganized speech or behavior. Schizophrenia can also manifest with negative symptoms to include cationic behavior, delayed speech/ actions, flat affect. Subtypes include paranoid, disorganized, and catatonic.
Common Psychiatric Diagnosis(continued)
Schizoaffective disorder:Schizophrenic type psychotic features are present for a significant amount of time (1 month or more untreated) concurrent to manic, major depressive or hypomanic episodes.Generalized Anxiety Disorder:Excessive anxiety or worry that is hard to control (occurs more days than not for at least 6 months) that cause significant disturbance in ones functioning and include some of the following symptoms: restless / on edge feelings, easily fatigued, difficult concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbance.Personality disorders:Enduring patterns of inner experiences and behaviors that deviate from the social norm that are pervasive/ inflexible over a length of time that lead to distress or impairment. Main Subtypes include:Borderline, Antisocial, Narcissistic, Dependent, Histrionic, Paranoid, Obsessive- Compulsive, Avoidant, Schizotypal(cognitive/ perceptual distortions, eccentric behavior),Schizoid(detachment from social relationships, restrictedrangeof emotion).
Commonly Used Medications for Psychiatric Symptoms(Most of medications listedbybrand name for easy recognition instead of generic name)
Antipsychotics/Neuroleptics:Zyprexa, Seroquel, Risperdal, Haldol, Geodon,Clozaril(also called -clozapine -not to be confused with clonazepam/Klonopin),Abilify,Latuda,Invega,Saphris.Antidepressants:Zoloft, Prozac,Celexa, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Cymbalta,Remeron,Viibryd, Lexapro,Amitriptyline, trazadoneMood Stabilizers:Depakote,Tegretol, Lithium, Neurontin,Lamicatal,Trileptal*ADHD:(these will test positive on UA)Vyvance,Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin, Strattera*Benzodiazepines:(these will test positive on UA) Ativan(Lorazepam),Klonopin(clonazepam), Valium (Diazapam), Xanax (alprazolam), LibriumNon Benzodiazepine Anxiety Meds:Vistaril(antihistamine), Propranolol, Inderal, Atenolol (beta blockers/ blood pressure meds)Alcohol Abuse:Campral, Naltrexone,AntibuseHeroin/Opiateabuse:Suboxone,methadone
Thingsto remember:Medication is meant to treat the symptoms, not the diagnosis, so different meds could be used for different reasons.Some antipsychotic meds are used in low doses for anxiety and sleep.Some of the mood stabilizers are also seizure medications.* Most will show up positive on Drug UA’s
Quick Guide to Suicide AssessmentRisk Factors(in no wayall-inclusive)
*Mental health diagnosis*Age (45 years or older)Sex (men more lethal/ women more often)Substanceuse/ *Alcohol**Impulsive**Significant depression*Financial woesHopelessness*Familyhxof suicide**Prior attempts*
*Recent loss/ separation*StressorsAccess to weaponsLack of insightHigh anxietyTrauma*Lack of social support*Chronic illness*Recent hospitalization**Command hallucinations*
Questions to ask:Goalis to assess for low/ moderate/ imminent risk ofsuicide- if there is imminentrisk send person to an emergencyroom/ crisis clinicforevaluation.
Assess for Ideation:(to get the conversation started)Are you having suicidal thoughts? (Ask for specifics, how long, what kind, plan specific or generalized wish to not exist?).For how long? Have these thoughts increased in frequency or intensity?Are they fleeting thoughts/ intrusive thoughts/ chronic thoughts/ daydream thoughts?How do the thoughts make you feel? (Scared, angry, calm, happy, peaceful?)What do you have to live for? (What are the barriers to suicide? Religion/ family/ job…)Asses for Plan:(If the answer to all three is YES-sendtohospital/clinic)Do you have a plan/ Whatis your plan? (Ask specifics if they have them- how, where, date/ time, with what)Accessto plan? (Do they have pills/ garage/ weapon/ etc.?)Doesplan have lethal intent?
Other factors/Questionsto consider:(if you still need more facts to make a decision on client’s safety risk)
CommandHallucinations? (voices telling them to hurt self- very dangerous)History of suicide in family?Prior attempts? (Is this episode different than prior attempts? How/ why?)Poor impulse control? (alcohol/ bipolar/ young age/ personality disorder)Recent change in affect? (used to be depressed now happy, used to be happy now hopeless)Too calm? (Often very calm after they have made final decision)Unable to talk about future?Lacks working alliance with treatment team/ assessor/ clinician. Won’t tell you what’s going on.Won’t contract to be safe/ safety plan (see ideas below)?Did they tell anyone? What support systems do they have?Fears of any consequences?Chronic self-punishment/ self-criticalness/ self-dislike/ self-worthlessness thoughts?Have they made arrangements for after their suicide?Suicide scale: 1=lowest 10=highest (ask them where they are on a scale 1-10. gives idea how intense thoughts are)
What Next? Safety Planning/Contractto beSafe(not all inclusive/ just some ideas)
Have client makea list of four support people.(Identifying people that they can reach out to / contact before they take any action).Can any of these people stay with you today/ tonight/ next few days?Createa list of five things you can do to soothe and distract yourself from suicidal/ self-injurious thoughts/ feelings. How can you stay safe? What can help keep you busy for next few days to get through this part?(Coping skills and activities)Listat least 4 positive or strength based self-talk statements that you can usewhendifficult feeling arise. List four things you have to stay alive for (my child, my dog, my church,etc).List2 goals for the upcoming day/week/month/year.(Future orientated).Take Action Steps: Contract to tell someone before you harm self.Have someone else help distribute your meds. Remove dangerous objects from home. Stay with family/ friend.Provide client crisisline numbers, nearest hospital if they become unsafe later, therapy references.
Case Management: Lookingat the Big Picture When Working with Mental Health Clients
CommunitySafety vs Perfect CompliancePrimary goal is to interact with supervision staff in a meaningful wayFailure to Comply often results in the defendant either being in community with no supervision (active warrant situation) or taking a jail bed (bad for client/ expense for jail).Leveling the Playing FieldWhat are barriers to compliance (resources/ understanding/ability)Make expectations realistic and manageable (look at strengths and limitations)
Case ManagementToolsSolution Focusedapproachconcentrating onmotivationandgoal settingvsproblem behaviorsandarrest
Techniques:(AND SOME EXAMPLES)Move one step at a time, small steps can lead to big changes.Create a non threatening positive environmentHomework assignments: impulse control techniques, breathing exercisesRemoving the mystery: go to court room while empty, explain what happens nextGive tips for deescalating/ interacting with public or policeMeet them where they are at: look for other successful areas of their lives to parallel/ set realistic goals.If something is working do more of it/ if not working do something differentException to the problem: “I see you made it to court today on time- how did you organize your morning different than usual?”Understanding Motivation: You must have had a good reason for doing this- can you tell me about it?





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