Assignment : Assessing And Treating Patients With Impulsivity, Compulsivity, And Addiction

Comorbid Addiction (ETOH and Gambling)
53-year-old Puerto Rican Female

Mrs. Maria Perez is a 53 year old Puerto Rican female who presents today due to a rather “embarrassing problem.”
Mrs. Perez admits that she has had “problems” with alcohol since her father died in her late teens. She reports that she has struggled with alcohol since her 20’s and has been involved with Alcoholics Anonymous “on and off” for the past 25 years. She states that for the past 2 years, she has been having more and more difficulty maintaining her sobriety since the opening of the new “Rising Sun” casino near her home. Mrs. Perez states that she and a friend went to visit the new casino during its grand opening at which point she was “hooked.” She states that she gets “such a high” when she is gambling. While gambling, she “enjoys a drink or two” to help calm her during high-stakes games. She states that this often gives way to more drinking and more reckless gambling. She also reports that her cigarette smoking has increased over the past 2 years and she is concerned about the negative effects of the cigarette smoking on her health.
She states that she attempts to abstain from drinking but she gets such a “high” from the act of gambling that she needs a few drinks to “even out.” She also notices that when she drinks, she doesn’t smoke “as much,” but she enjoys smoking when she is playing at the slot machines. She also reports that she has gained weight from drinking so much. She currently weights 122 lbs., which represents a 7 lb. weight gain from her usual 115 lb. weight.
Mrs. Perez is quite concerned today because she borrowed over $50,000 from her retirement account to pay off her gambling debts, and her husband does not know.
The client is a 53 year old Puerto Rican female who is alert and oriented to person, place, time, and event. She is dressed appropriately for the weather and time of year. Her speech is clear, coherent, and goal directed. Her eye contact is somewhat avoidant during the clinical interview. When you make eye contact with her, she looks away or looks down. She demonstrates no noteworthy mannerisms, gestures, or tics. Her self-reported mood is “sad.” Affect is appropriate to content of conversation and self-reported mood. She denies visual or auditory hallucinations, and no delusional or paranoid thought processes are readily appreciated. Insight and judgment are grossly intact; however, impulse control is impaired. She is currently denying suicidal or homicidal ideation.
Diagnosis: Gambling disorder, alcohol use disorder

Decision Point One
Select what you should do:

Vivitrol (naltrexone) injection, 380 mg intramuscularly in the gluteal region every 4 weeks
Antabuse (disulfiram) 250 mg orally daily
Campral (acamprosate) 666 mg orally three times/day

Decision Point One

Vivitrol (naltrexone) injection, 380 mg intramuscularly in the gluteal region every 4 weeks
• Client returns to clinic in four weeks
• Mrs. Perez says she feels “wonderful” as she has not “touched a drop” of alcohol since receiving the injection
• Client reports that she has not been going to the casino, as frequently, but when she does go she “drops a bundle” (meaning, spends a lot of money gambling)
• Client She is also still smoking, which has her concerned. She is also reporting some problems with anxiety, which also has her concerned

Decision Point Two
Select what you should do next:
Add on Valium (diazepam) 5 mg orally TID/PRN/anxiety
Refer to a counselor to address gambling issues
Add on Chantix (varenicline) 1 mg orally BID
Decision Point Two
Refer to a counselor to address gambling issues

• Mrs. Perez returns in 4 weeks and reports that the anxiety that she had been experiencing is gone.
• She reports that she has met with the counselor, but she did not really like her.
• She also started going to a local meeting of Gamblers Anonymous. She states that last week, for the first time, she spoke during the meeting. She reports feeling supported in this group.

Decision Point Three
Select what you should do next:
Explore the issue that Mrs. Perez is having with her counselor, and encourage her to continue attending the Gamblers Anonymous meetings
Encourage Mrs. Perez to continue seeing her current counselor as well as continuing with the Gamblers Anonymous group
Discontinue Vivitrol. Encourage Mrs. Perez to continue seeing her counselor and to continue participating in the Gamblers Anonymous group
Decision Point Three
Explore the issue that Mrs. Perez is having with her counselor, and encourage her to continue attending the Gamblers Anonymous meetings

Guidance to Student

Although controversy exists in the literature regarding how long to maintain a client on Vivitrol, 8 weeks is probably too soon to consider discontinuation. The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner should explore the issues that Mrs. Perez is having with her counselor. As will be covered in more depth in future courses, ruptures in the therapeutic alliance can result in clients stopping therapy. Clearly, if the client does not continue with therapy, the likelihood of the gambling problem spontaneously remitting is lower (than had the client continued to receive therapy). Recall that there are no FDA-approved treatments for gambling addiction. The mainstay of treatment for this disorder is counseling. Since Mrs. Perez reports good perceived support from the Gamblers Anonymous meetings, she should be encouraged to continue her participation with this group.
You need to discuss smoking cessation options with Mrs. Perez in order to address the totality of addictions, and to enhance her overall health.


Addictions that coexist (ETOH and Gambling)
Female Puerto Rican, 53 years old



Mrs. Maria Perez, a 53-year-old Puerto Rican female, arrives today with a “embarrassing condition.”


Mrs. Perez admits to having “issues” with drinking since her father died while she was in her late teens. She claims to have suffered with alcohol since her twenties and has been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous “on and off” for the past 25 years. She claims that since the construction of the new “Rising Sun” casino near her home two years ago, she has had increasing difficulties keeping her sobriety. Mrs. Perez claims that she and a friend went to the new casino’s grand opening at

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