The below registration page is for individual registrations only. If you are registering someone other than yourself or you are registering a group you must download our registration form and return to us with a purchase order. Please call us at (203)909-6888 x2 with any questions. Thank you.
Please note this is an online course.
Trainer: Charles Atkins, MD
With tens of millions of Americans prescribed psychiatric medications, it's incumbent on all mental health clinicians to develop a working familiarity with the range of options and when and how they might benefit, or harm, their clients. This series of interwoven but independent trainings (can be taken in order or just chapters/sessions of interest) provides a practical and detailed overview of the theory and practice behind the use of psychiatric medications. It teaches clinicians at all stages of development how to critically evaluate claims made by pharmaceutical companies.
Specific classes of medications will be presented, and how and when they are prescribed will be discussed. Attention will be paid to issues of adherence, client choice and self-determination, goal setting, managing side effects, and recovery. Specific concerns across the lifecycle will be reviewed as well as culture and gender-specific topics. Throughout 8 sessions of training, important nonmedication and complementary and alternative strategies to improve outcomes will be discussed.
Sessions 1&2: Psychopharmacology Basics: How to Read the Fine Print and Why it Matters (3 hours)
These two sessions provide a plainspeak overview of psychopharmacology with those topics of most interest to clinicians. We will cover what is known about medications, how they work and are metabolized in the body, how to differentiate between claims made by the pharmaceutical companies in their marketing materials, and what clients can expect. Important themes related to medication adherence, personal choice, and respect for a person’s priorities will be covered. Specific strategies using a motivational model to enhance adherence will be presented. For those involved in medication supervision or administration, concrete strategies to decrease medication errors will be reviewed.
Course Objectives (4):
Hour 1: Overview, key terms, the six rights of medication delivery, regulatory issues. Informed consent.
Hour 2: Introduction to package inserts. How to understand placebo-controlled studies. Number needed to treat and number needed to harm. On and off label prescribing.
Hour 3: How to establish goals and priorities around medications. The motivational/change-based approach to medication adherence. Why people will and won’t take medications. Pros and cons exercise.
Session 3: Antidepressants and Depressive Disorders (1.5 hours)
Description: This session reviews the diagnostic features of depressive disorders and available classes of antidepressants, as well as electroconvulsive therapy and other procedural modalities. Benefits and risks of specific medications will be touched on, as well as a review of nonmedication evidence-based clinical and wellness strategies to improve outcomes.
Course Objectives (2)
Hour 1: Review of DSM criteria for depressive disorders. Classes of antidepressants. Realistic expectations. Neuroscience. Augmentation strategies.
Last ½ hour: Electroconvulsive therapy, TMS, Esketamine, Vagal stimulation. Wellness strategies.
Session 4: Mood Stabilizers and Bipolar-Spectrum Disorders (1.5 hours)
This session begins with the importance of, and difficulties in, obtaining an accurate diagnosis of a bipolar disorder. Specific screening tools and strategies will be presented. Medications for mood stabilization will be presented, along with nonmedication techniques to help people with bipolar realize their goals and priorities. High-risk scenarios (suicide, pregnancy) will also be discussed.
Hour 1: Review of DSM-5 criteria for bipolar and related disorders. The importance and challenges of diagnostic accuracy. Use of history and the Mood Disorder Questionnaire. Definitions of mood stabilizers. Review of medication options with risks and benefits.
Last ½ hour: Special populations and high-risk scenarios. Pregnancy and bipolar disorder, management of manic and suicidal crises.
Session 5: Antipsychotics and Psychotic disorders (one session/1.5 hours)
Description: This session reviews the pros and cons of antipsychotic/neuroleptic/major tranquilizer medications for people with psychotic disorders. Issues of adherence, anosognosia (the belief that one does not have an illness), and the very real side-effect and adverse reactions associated with these medications will be explored. Movement abnormalities (Tardive Dyskinesia, and acute dystonic reactions) will be presented along with risk for metabolic syndrome (central obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease) and ways to diminish their impact. Motivational and relational strategies to enhance outcomes will be presented.
Course Objectives (2):
Hour 1: Review of DSM criteria for psychotic disorders. Issues of adherence, why people will and won’t take their medications. Establishment of the client’s goals and priorities, especially as they relate to medication. Review of first- and second-generation antipsychotics. The AIMS examination with demonstration. Data from the CATIE study. Movement abnormalities and metabolic syndrome. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
Second ½ hour: Case study that focuses on schizophrenia, anosognosia and medication refusal. Discussion.
Session 6: Medications for anxiety and Anxiety disorders (one session/1.5 hours)
Description: This module reviews the anxiety disorders as currently configured in the DSM-5 and FDA approved pharmacologic therapies. Medications reviewed will include the SSRIs, SNRIS, benzodiazepines, buspirone, and others. Metrics to aid in diagnosis and treatment will be reviewed. Nonmedication strategies and the literature to support them will be discussed, to include CBT, DBT, exposure and nonexposure treatment of trauma, mindfulness, and others.
Hour 1: Review of the DSM-5 anxiety disorders, to also include the PTSD/Trauma related and OCD chapters. Current FDA approved medications for anxiety disorders. Issues with benzodiazepines. Clarification of the existing literature on medication and non-medication strategies to manage anxiety disorders.
Second ½ hour: Case Study with discussion.
Session 7: Co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (1.5 hours)
Description: Over eight-million Americans meet criteria for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. This includes the executive with obsessive-compulsive disorder who drinks a fifth of hard liquor a day, to the homeless person who smokes cannabis heavily and has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, to the 35-year-old mother with PTSD and a life-threatening opioid habit. These are the people most likely to seek mental health and/or substance use services. But when we come to the discussion of medication for co-occurring disorders, there is a paucity of studies. Indeed, what might work for someone’s alcohol or tobacco problem could worsen their depression or psychosis or vice versa.
This module presents a practical and integrated approach to the assessment and treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, with a focus on pharmacologic interventions and adjunctive strategies (clinical, peer, and otherwise) that will help move people forward in the direction of their goals and aspirations. Medication assisted treatment will be reviewed briefly for alcohol, opioids, and nicotine.
Hour 1: Co-occurring definitions. Integrated treatment paradigms with examples. Demographics of co-occurring disorders. Review of existing medication studies, or lack thereof, for people with co-occurring disorders. Establishment and articulation of treatment goals and priorities. The interconnectedness of disorders. Harm reduction and abstinence-only models will be compared and contrasted.
Second ½ hour: Case study, a woman with PTSD, self-injurious behavior, and multiple substance use disorders. Discussion.
Session 8: Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorders: What You Need to Know (1.5 hours)
Description: As the opioid epidemic continues to evolve and, sadly, worsen, clinicians must familiarize themselves with current best practices that include the use of medications for opioid use disorders. This session provides an overview of opioid use disorders, the current FDA approved medications for their treatment (buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone XR), as well as the use of naloxone (Narcan) to reverse overdoses.
Strategies to address high-risk situations will be discussed along with a review of abstinence-only and harm reduction approaches. Specific techniques to identify and clarify a client’s goals will be presented, along with the importance of peer, family, wellness, clinical, and other supports to aid in the recovery process.
Hour one: The opioid epidemic with data. Discussion of high-risk populations. Review of medication assisted treatment options: Methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone. Harm reduction strategies to include broad distribution of naloxone/Narcan. How to anticipate and manage relapses. Clinical, peer, and wellness based adjunctive supports.
Second ½ hour: Case study with discussion.
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