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NURS 6630: Psychopharmalogical Approaches to Treat Psychopathology

Week 8: Therapy for Patients With Sleep/Wake Disorders

From negative changes in mood to problems concentrating, sleep/wake disorders can have a tremendous impact on patients’ lives. When patients suffer from these disorders, they often seek medical care with the intent of receiving medications to manage symptoms. However, many of the medications used to treat sleep/wake disorders may be addictive, making thorough patient assessments and close follow-up care essential. To prescribe appropriate therapies with patient safety in mind, you must understand not only the pathophysiology of these disorders but also the pharmacologic agents used to treat them.

This week, as you study therapies for individuals with sleep/wake disorders, you examine the assessment and treatment of patients with these disorders. You also explore ethical and legal implications of these therapies.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Synthesize concepts related to the psychopharmacologic treatment of patients
  • Assess patient factors and history to develop personalized therapy plans for patients with sleep/wake disorders
  • Analyze factors that influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes in patients requiring therapy for sleep/wake disorders
  • Synthesize knowledge of providing care to patients presenting for sleep/wake disorders
  • Analyze ethical and legal implications related to prescribing therapy for patients with sleep/wake disorders

Learning Resources

Required Readings (click to expand/reduce) American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 Fernandez-Mendoza, J., & Vgontzas, A. N. (2013). Insomnia and its impact on physical and mental health. Current Psychiatry Reports, 15(12), 418. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-012-0418-8 Levenson, J. C., Kay, D. B., & Buysse, D. J. (2015). The pathophysiology of insomnia. Chest, 147(4), 1179–1192. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4388122/ Morgenthaler, T. I., Kapur, V. K., Brown, T. M., Swick, T. J., Alessi, C., Aurora, R. N., Boehlecke, B., Chesson, A. L., Friedman, L., Maganti, R., Owens, J., Pancer, J., & Zak, R. (2007). Practice parameters for the treatment of narcolepsy and other hypersomnias of central origin. SLEEP, 30(12), 1705–1711. https://j2vjt3dnbra3ps7ll1clb4q2-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/PP_Narcolepsy.pdf Morgenthaler, T. I., Owens, J., Alessi, C., Boehlecke, B, Brown, T. M., Coleman, J., Friedman, L., Kapur, V. K., Lee-Chiong, T., Pancer, J., & Swick, T. J. (2006). Practice parameters for behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children. SLEEP, 29(1), 1277–1281. https://j2vjt3dnbra3ps7ll1clb4q2-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/PP_NightWakingsChildren.pdf Sateia, M. J., Buysse, D. J., Krystal, A. D., Neubauer, D. N., & Heald, J. L. (2017). Clinical practice guideline for the pharmacologic treatment of chronic insomnia in adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine clinical practice guideline. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 13(2), 307–349. https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/pdf/10.5664/jcsm.6470 Winkleman, J. W. (2015). Insomnia disorder. The New England Journal of Medicine, 373(15), 1437–1444. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMcp1412740 Medication Resources (click to expand/reduce) IBM Corporation. (2020). IBM Micromedex. https://www.micromedexsolutions.com/micromedex2/librarian/deeplinkaccess?source=deepLink&institution=SZMC%5ESZMC%5ET43537

Note: To access the following medications, use the IBM Micromedex resource. Type the name of each medication in the keyword search bar. Be sure to read all sections on the left navigation bar related to each medication’s result page, as this information will be helpful for your review in preparation for your Assignments.

alprazolam amitriptyline amoxapine amphetamine desipramine diazepam doxepin eszopiclone flunitrazepam flurazepam hydroxyzine  imipramine lemborexant lorazepam melatonin methylphenedate modafinilarmodafinil carnitine clomipramine clonazepam nortriptyline pitolisant ramelteon sodium oxybate solriamfetol SSRI’s temazepam trazodone triazolam trimipramine wellbutrin zaleplon zolpidem

Required Media (click to expand/reduce)


Assignment 1: Short Answer Assessment

To Prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week.
  • Reflect on the psychopharmacologic treatments that you have covered up to this point that may be available to treat patients with mental health disorders.
  • Consider the potential effects these psychopharmacologic treatments may have on co-existing mental health conditions and/or their potential effects on your patient’s overall health.

To complete:

Address the following Short Answer prompts for your Assignment. Be sure to include references to the Learning Resources for this week.

  1. In 3 or 4 sentences, explain the appropriate drug therapy for a patient who presents with MDD and a history of alcohol abuse. Which drugs are contraindicated, if any, and why? Be specific. What is the timeframe that the patient should see resolution of symptoms?
  2. List 4 predictors of late onset generalized anxiety disorder.
  3. List 4 potential neurobiology causes of psychotic major depression.
  4. An episode of major depression is defined as a period of time lasting at least 2 weeks. List at least 5 symptoms required for the episode to occur. Be specific.
  5. List 3 classes of drugs, with a corresponding example for each class, that precipitate insomnia. Be specific. 
By Day 7

This Assignment is due.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK8Assgn1+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 8 Assignment 1 Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 8 Assignment 1 link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK8Assgn1+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:Week 8 Assignment 1 Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:Submit your Week 8 Assignment 1 draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7 of Week 8

To participate in this Assignment:Week 8 Assignment 1


Assignment 2: Assessing and Treating Patients With Sleep/Wake Disorders

Sleep disorders are conditions that result in changes in an individual’s pattern of sleep (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Not surprisingly, a sleep disorder can affect an individual’s overall health, safety, and quality of life. Psychiatric nurse practitioners can treat sleep disorders with psychopharmacologic treatments, however, many of these drugs can have negative effects on other aspects of a patient’s health and well-being. Additionally, while psychopharmacologic treatments may be able to address issues with sleep, they can also exert potential challenges with waking patterns. Thus, it is important for the psychiatric nurse practitioner to carefully evaluate the best psychopharmacologic treatments for patients that present with sleep/wake disorders.

Reference: Mayo Clinic. (2020). Sleep disorders. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354018

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, including the Medication Resources indicated for this week.
  • Reflect on the psychopharmacologic treatments you might recommend for the assessment and treatment of patients with sleep/wake disorders.

The Assignment: 5 pages

Examine Case Study: Pharmacologic Approaches to the Treatment of Insomnia in a Younger Adult. You will be asked to make three decisions concerning the medication to prescribe to this patient. Be sure to consider factors that might impact the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes.

At each decision point, you should evaluate all options before selecting your decision and moving throughout the exercise. Before you make your decision, make sure that you have researched each option and that you evaluate the decision that you will select. Be sure to research each option using the primary literature.

Introduction to the case (1 page)

  • Briefly explain and summarize the case for this Assignment. Be sure to include the specific patient factors that may impact your decision making when prescribing medication for this patient.

Decision #1 (1 page)

  • Which decision did you select?
  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #2 (1 page)

  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Decision #3 (1 page)

  • Why did you select this decision? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • Why did you not select the other two options provided in the exercise? Be specific and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.
  • What were you hoping to achieve by making this decision? Support your response with evidence and references to the Learning Resources (including the primary literature).
  • Explain how ethical considerations may impact your treatment plan and communication with patients. Be specific and provide examples.

Conclusion (1 page)

  • Summarize your recommendations on the treatment options you selected for this patient. Be sure to justify your recommendations and support your response with clinically relevant and patient-specific resources, including the primary literature.

Note: Support your rationale with a minimum of five academic resources. While you may use the course text to support your rationale, it will not count toward the resource requirement. You should be utilizing the primary and secondary literature. Reminder : The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The Sample Paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/templates/general#s-lg-box-20293632). All papers submitted must use this formatting.

By Day 7

Submit your Assignment. 

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