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Therapy for Pediatric Clients With Mood Disorders

Mood disorders can impact every facet of a child’s life, making the most basic activities difficult for clients and their families. This was the case for 13-year-old Kara, who was struggling at home and at school. For more than 8 years, Kara suffered from temper tantrums, impulsiveness, inappropriate behavior, difficulty in judgment, and sleep issues. As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner working with pediatric clients, you must be able to assess whether these symptoms are caused by psychological, social, or underlying growth and development issues. You must then be able recommend appropriate therapies.

This week, as you examine antidepressant therapies, you explore the assessment and treatment of pediatric clients with mood disorders. You also consider ethical and legal implications of these therapies.

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Assignment: Assessing and Treating Pediatric Clients With Mood Disorders

When pediatric clients present with mood disorders, the process of assessing, diagnosing, and treating them can be quite complex. Children not only present with different signs and symptoms than adult clients with the same disorders, but they also metabolize medications much differently. As a result, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners must exercise caution when prescribing psychotropic medications to these clients. For this Assignment, as you examine the client case study in this week’s Learning Resources, consider how you might assess and treat pediatric clients presenting with mood disorders.

Note: This Assignment is the first of 10 assignments that are based on interactive client case studies. For these assignments, you will be required to make decisions about how to assess and treat clients. Each of your decisions will have a consequence. Some consequences will be insignificant, and others may be life altering. You are not expected to make the “right” decision every time; in fact, some scenarios may not have a “right” decision. You are, however, expected to learn from each decision you make and demonstrate the ability to weigh risks versus benefits to prescribe appropriate treatments for clients.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

Assess client factors and history to develop personalized plans of antidepressant therapy for pediatric clients

Analyze factors that influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes in pediatric clients requiring antidepressant therapy

Evaluate efficacy of treatment plans

Analyze ethical and legal implications related to prescribing antidepressant therapy to pediatric clients

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Note: All Stahl resources can be accessed through the Walden Library using this link. This link will take you to a log-in page for the Walden Library. Once you log into the library, the Stahl website will appear.

 Stahl, S. M. (2013). Stahl’s essential psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific basis and practical applications (4th ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Note: To access the following chapters, click on the Essential Psychopharmacology, 4th ed tab on the Stahl Online website and select the appropriate chapter. Be sure to read all sections on the left navigation bar for each chapter.

Chapter 6, “Mood Disorders”

Chapter 7, “Antidepressants”

Stahl, S. M. (2014b). The prescriber’s guide (5th ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Note: To access the following medications, click on the The Prescriber’s Guide, 5th ed tab on the Stahl Online website and select the appropriate chapter. Be sure to read all sections on the left navigation bar for each chapter.

Review the following medications:

amitriptyline

bupropion

citalopram

clomipramine

desipramine

desvenlafaxine

doxepin

duloxetine

escitalopram

fluoxetine

fluvoxamine

imipramine

ketamine

mirtazapine

nortriptyline

paroxetine

selegiline

sertraline

trazodone

venlafaxine

vilazodone

vortioxetine

Magellan Health, Inc. (2013). Appropriate use of psychotropic drugs in children and adolescents: A clinical monograph. Retrieved from https://www.magellanprovider.com/media/11740/psychotropicdrugsinkids.pdf

 Rao, U. (2013). Biomarkers in pediatric depression. Depression & Anxiety, 30(9), 787–791. doi:10.1002/da.22171

Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Vitiello, B. (2012). Principles in using psychotropic medication in children and adolescents. In J. M. Rey (Ed.), IACAPAP e-Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Geneva: International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions. Retrieved from http://iacapap.org/wp-content/uploads/A.7-PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY-072012.pdf

 Poznanski, E., & Mokros, H. (1996). Child Depression Rating Scale–Revised. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.

Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Required Media

Laureate Education (2016e). Case study: An African American child suffering from depression [Interactive media file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: This case study will serve as the foundation for this week’s Assignment.

Optional Resources

El Marroun, H., White, T., Verhulst, F., & Tiemeier, H. (2014). Maternal use of antidepressant or anxiolytic medication during pregnancy and childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes: A systematic review. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 23(10), 973–992. doi:10.1007/s00787-014-0558-3

Gordon, M. S., & Melvin, G. A. (2014). Do antidepressants make children and adolescents suicidal? Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 50(11), 847–854. doi:10.1111/jpc.12655

Seedat, S. (2014). Controversies in the use of antidepressants in children and adolescents: A decade since the storm and where do we stand now? Journal of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 26(2), iii–v. doi:10.2989/17280583.2014.938497

To prepare for this Assignment:

Review this week’s Learning Resources. Consider how to assess and treat pediatric clients requiring antidepressant therapy.

The Assignment                          

Examine Case Study: An African American Child Suffering From Depression. You will be asked to make three decisions concerning the medication to prescribe to this client. Be sure to consider factors that might impact the client’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes.

At each decision point stop to complete the following:

Decision #1

Which decision did you select?  See below.

Why did you select this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.

What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.

Explain any difference between what you expected to achieve with Decision #1 and the results of the decision. Why were they different?

Decision #2

Why did you select this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.

What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.

Explain any difference between what you expected to achieve with Decision #2 and the results of the decision. Why were they different?

Decision #3

Why did you select this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.

What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources.

Explain any difference between what you expected to achieve with Decision #3 and the results of the decision. Why were they different?

Also include how ethical considerations might impact your treatment plan and communication with clients.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The client is an 8-year-old African American male who arrives at the ER with his mother. He is exhibiting signs of depression.

 Client complained of feeling “sad”

 Mother reports that teacher said child is withdrawn from peers in class

 Mother notes decreased appetite and occasional periods of irritation

 Client reached all developmental landmarks at appropriate ages

 Physical exam unremarkable

 Laboratory studies WNL

 Child referred to psychiatry for evaluation

 Client seen by Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

MENTAL STATUS EXAM

Alert & oriented X 3, speech clear, coherent, goal directed, spontaneous. Self-reported mood is “sad”. Affect somewhat blunted, but child smiled appropriately at various points throughout the clinical interview. He denies visual or auditory hallucinations. No delusional or paranoid thought processes noted. Judgment and insight appear to be age-appropriate. He is not endorsing active suicidal ideation, but does admit that he often thinks about himself being dead and what it would be like to be dead.

The PMHNP administers the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, obtaining a score of 30 (indicating significant depression)

RESOURCES

§ Poznanski, E., & Mokros, H. (1996). Child Depression Rating Scale–Revised. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.

Decision Point One

Select what the PMHNP should do:

Begin Zoloft 25 mg orally daily

 Begin Paxil 10 mg orally daily

 Begin Wellbutrin 75 mg orally BID

Case Study of the above client

Decision Point One

I selected  Zoloft 25 mg orally daily

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE

 Client returns to clinic in four weeks

 No change in depressive symptoms at all

Decision Point Two

 Increase dose to 50 mg orally daily

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO

 Client returns to clinic in four weeks

 Depressive symptoms decrease by 50%. Cleint tolerating well

Decision Point Three

 Maintain current dose

Guidance to Student

At this point, sufficient symptom reduction has been achieved. This is considered a “response” to therapy. Can continue with current dose for additional 4 week to see if any further reductions in depressive symptoms are noted. An increase in dose may be warranted since this is not “full” remission- Discuss pros/cons of increasing drug dose with client at this time and empower the client to be part of the decision. There is no indication that the drug therapy should be changed to an SNRI at this point as the client is clearly responding to this therapy

Expert Solution Preview

Introduction:

When assessing and treating pediatric clients with mood disorders, it is important to consider the unique factors and challenges that these clients may face. This assignment focuses on a case study of an 8-year-old African American male who presents with signs of depression. As a mental health nurse practitioner, your goal is to develop a personalized plan of antidepressant therapy for this client while considering factors such as pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and ethical and legal implications.

Decision #1:

I selected to begin Zoloft 25 mg orally daily. This decision is based on evidence from the learning resources that supports the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft, as a first-line treatment for pediatric depression. SSRIs have shown to be effective and well-tolerated in children with depression. By starting at a low dose of 25 mg, we can monitor the client’s response and titrate the dose as needed.

I hope to achieve a reduction in the client’s depressive symptoms and an improvement in his overall mood and functioning. The goal is to initiate treatment and assess the client’s response over a period of time.

The results of this decision were not as expected, as there was no change in the client’s depressive symptoms at all. This may indicate that the dose of Zoloft needs to be adjusted or that the client may require a different medication.

Decision #2:

I selected to increase the dose to 50 mg orally daily. This decision is based on the lack of improvement in the client’s depressive symptoms with the initial dose of Zoloft. Increasing the dose may lead to a better response and a reduction in symptoms.

I hope to achieve a significant decrease in the client’s depressive symptoms and an improvement in his overall well-being.

The results of this decision were positive, as the client’s depressive symptoms decreased by 50%. This indicates that increasing the dose of Zoloft was beneficial for the client. He is tolerating the medication well, which is an important consideration in pediatric clients.

Decision #3:

I selected to maintain the current dose. At this point, the client has shown a response to therapy with a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms. It may be appropriate to continue with the current dose for an additional 4 weeks to see if there are further improvements in symptoms.

The goal is to continue monitoring the client’s response and evaluate if a further increase in the dose is warranted. It is important to involve the client in the decision-making process and discuss the potential benefits and risks of increasing the medication dose.

Ethical considerations play a significant role in the treatment plan and communication with clients. It is essential to obtain informed consent from the client’s parents or legal guardians, ensure confidentiality, and consider the potential risks and benefits of the medication. Regular evaluation, monitoring, and open communication with the client and their family are also crucial.

Overall, the assessment and treatment of pediatric clients with mood disorders require careful consideration of various factors. By using evidence-based practice, regularly evaluating the client’s response, and involving them in decision-making, healthcare providers can provide the best care for these clients.

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