Frequently, in the past couple of years a question has emerged regarding how to handle a very specific situation in mental health treatment. That situation is what to do when a patient appropriate for PTSD treatment is also taking medicinal grade prescription cannabis for other issues such as chronic pain, anxiety or insomnia. What makes this question unique from the issue of any substance use/abuse during mental health treatment is the unknown quality of this substance. For instance, if a patient states they drink 2-3 glasses of wine approximately 3 nights a week, we have a good idea of how this substance use may affect their ability to process cognitions and emotions. However, with cannabis there are many questions.
Blog posts with the tag "Treatment"
Recent events where patients covertly recorded behavioral health sessions has brought these chronic concerns to the forefront for many providers. Providers seem conflicted about where they stand on patients secretly recording sessions. But advancements in technology have enhanced the anxiety as people can now splice recordings in ways that misrepresent what actually happened. For some, these advancements lead to the belief that secret recording should be illegal. For others, it is yet another factor in their conflicted feelings and the struggle between patient and provider rights.
A U.S. Veteran, I’ll call him Steve, walked into my office following his third and final military deployment. He was referred to me for an evaluation of a potential traumatic brain injury (TBI). As a member of an artillery unit, traveling across Iraq in convoys, Steve, who is a composite, not an actual person, witnessed many deaths and injuries; he felt lucky to have returned safely home without significant limitations, other than post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
As a researcher and clinician who has worked with military personnel and Veterans for over 15 years, one of my most important priorities is providing the best assessment and treatment possible to those experiencing post-deployment mental health problems. While excellent, evidence-based treatments exist for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many military personnel and Veterans continue to meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD after psychotherapy,1 highlighting an imperative need for innovative treatments. Designing, improving and implementing these treatments is a major focus of my research.
While every provider may experience some initial discomfort with implementing an unfamiliar treatment, I am often surprised with how resistant many mental health providers are toward learning and implementing evidence-based treatments. An article on this topic by Scott Lilienfeld and colleagues demonstrates this resistance, reasons for it, and potential ways to work through it. I believe providers on all sides of this issue should read this article as a way to both consider another perspective and to clarify their own opinions.