Week 2 (3/19-3/25): Introducing Patients
Hello everyone, and welcome back to my senior project blog!
For this week’s post I will be introducing some of the patients that I will be working with throughout the stay in the Foundations of Recovery Program. Although, initially my plan had been to work with patients starting from the beginning of their stay in the program, this will no longer be the case with one of the patients I am working with in order to ensure the diversity of the veterans I am working with. In addition, to protect patient privacy, no names will be used, rather the order in which I talk about each patient will remain the same.
This patient is a caucasian female veteran in her early 40s with a history of anxiety, depression, opioid dependence, stimulant dependence, cannabis use disorder, PTSD, and alcohol dependence. She has received prior treatment at the Foundations of Recovery program and has stated that she believes her relapse into polysubstance use is due to lack of support after discharge as well as other social stressors. Her short-term discharge goal is to process social stressors, stay sober, and create a support system before she discharges to help prevent her from relapsing and her long-term goal is to work on her finances.
Looking at her history of substance use, she has reported overdoses and experiences with withdrawal symptoms. Her substances of choice are opioids and benzodiazepines but uses methamphetamines to counter the effects. She used to use alcohol regularly, but it has now become more of recreational use. She also uses cannabis and tobacco.
She is reporting symptoms like poor sleep, anxiety, low energy, and poor appetite which could be due to both substance withdrawal and depression. She also has symptoms of PTSD due a history of sexual, physical, emotional, and verbal trauma, reporting intrusive symptoms, negative alterations in mood, and changes in reactivity.
This patient is a caucasian male veteran in his late 30s with a history of anxiety, depression, substance use disorder, PTSD, and ADHD. He has received prior treatment along with a significant period of sobriety and has stated that he believes his relapse into alcohol use could be potentially due to family issues. His discharge goals are to stay sober as well as get help for his PTSD through the PTSD program at the VA. He has stated that journaling his prayers has helped him as well as equine therapy which he hopes to continue at the VA.
Looking at his history of substance use, he has reported experiences with withdrawal symptoms. His substances of choice are alcohol, which he stated helps with his anger, and marijuana, which he stated helps with his anxiety. He has reported regular tobacco usage with usage of methamphetamines and cocaine recreationally. He used ecstasy extensively for a year and has now stopped and no longer uses psilocybin mushrooms.
He is reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as seeking long-term treatment for PTSD due to his experience in combat. Although he currently isn’t worried about treating his ADHD, Dr. Anbalagan has also cited the importance of treating it when helping patients who are struggling with substance abuse disorder as those who have ADHD tend to be more impulsive which can potentially lead to a higher risk of relapse.
That’s it for this week’s post. Thank you for reading!