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Suicide Assessment and Intervention for Anxiety/Depression

The forensic team has been come together to discuss the case of Evan F., a prisoner inmate of a minimum security prison has just begun to serve a 5-year sentence for embezzlement and other white collar crime. Evan worked as a businessman and has a history of anxiety and depression for which he has taken medication in the past. Evan has recently had some episodes in which he suddenly feels as though he can't breathe, has chest pain, sweats excessively and becomes very dizzy. When he was taken to the infirmary, it was decided that his symptoms were psychiatric in nature.

The correctional officers initially felt that Evan was faking these symptoms and ?malingering. However, a member of your team is concerned that Evan may be at risk for suicide. He states that Evan has talked about how he has nothing to live for and that he lost his career and the respect of his peers when he was found guilty of embezzlement. Evan has been acting very listless and not eating much. When considering Evan's case, the team will also need to consider suicide risk.. You are asked to begin the team meeting with a presentation that sets out the main considerations in evaluating Evan's case. You will include the following items in the presentation:

Discuss the DSM-IV criteria for Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks.Identify and describe some underlying causes and triggers for Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks.
What is involved in assessing suicide risk for an individual?
What additional information would you want to know about Evan in order to make a diagnosis and assess suicide risk?
Are the diagnoses of Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety or Panic Attack associated with higher suicide risk? Discuss.
If Evan does have Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Panic Disorder, what treatment recommendations would you make? If Evan is found to be a suicide risk, what steps should be taken to address this?

Solution Preview

Dear student,

The case you have been given is commonly known as a "vignette" among professionals. These vignettes are commonly given to students who are interviewing for mental health jobs. The student is asked to mentally "walk through" the vignette and demonstrate their clinical understanding. For the purpose of this class, your teacher is trying to assess your clinical understanding.

Let's walk through each question:

Q1: Discuss the DSM-IV criteria for Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorder, and Panic Attacks. Identify and describe some underlying triggers for Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks:

Recommendation: This is a compare and contrast question. While these diagnoses have similarities, they have some distinct differences. A review of DSM-IV criteria will help you see these differences (see attached document). One recommendation is that you could use 1-2 slides to define the three disorders (criteria) and the 1 slide to describe how each disorder is different/unique. Keep in mind that these are all anxiety disorders. ...

Solution Summary

The following document describes the differences between Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorder, and Depression. How to conduct a suicide assessment is discussed along with appropriate clinical interventions to reduce harm.