NURS 6630 Assignment 1: Short Answer Assessment

NURS 6630 Assignment 1: Short Answer Assessment

Drug Management of Major Depressive Disorder Co-occurring with Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse and major depressive disorders occur commonly in the population. These disorders, from time to time occur together. When they occur together, they display a dreadful outcome (Baranyi et al., 2022). An integrated approach to the treatment of these patients is paramount. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the neurobiology, symptoms, and the appropriate drug therapy for patients with Major Depressive Disorder co-occurring with Alcohol Abuse.

Explain the Appropriate Drug therapy for Major Depressive Disorder co-occurring with Alcohol Abuse

A combination of naltrexone and sertraline has been proven ideal for the treatment of co-occurrence of alcohol abuse

NURS 6630 Assignment 1 Short Answer Assessment

NURS 6630 Assignment 1 Short Answer Assessment

and major depressive disorder. This combination delays the reversion to alcohol abuse, is highly efficacious, marked improvement in mood in comparison to other drug therapies, and had fewer side effects (Stubbs et al., 2022).

Which Drugs are contraindicated

Benzodiazepines- such as diazepam- are contraindicated as they lower the seizure threshold hence the patient is at an increased risk of falls, intellectual impairment, increased risk aspiration, and low efficacy, in the long run, cross-tolerance of the benzodiazepines and alcohol hence propensity to abuse the drugs, and withdrawal effects after stoppage of the drug.

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Bupropion lowers the seizure threshold. Mirtazapine and tricyclic antidepressants when used in the setting of alcohol abuse, they act synergistically to increase the

NURS 6630 Assignment 1 Short Answer Assessment

NURS 6630 Assignment 1 Short Answer Assessment

sedative effects of alcohol. Duloxetine is hepatotoxic and may propel liver disease in the setting of chronic alcohol abuse.

What is the Timeframe that the Patient should see the Resolution of symptoms

  • With adherence to medication and abstinence from alcohol, symptoms abate starting from two weeks post initiation of therapy (Close, 2019).

List four Predictors of Late Onset Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • They include chronic disease conditions like COPD, mental retardation, presence of other mental illnesses like depression, lack of support and affection during childhood, poverty, unpropitious events in life, and separation.

List four Potential Neurobiological causes of Psychotic Major Depression

  • They include hypersensitized response to stress, serotonin dysfunction, disrupted dopamine feedback system in the nigrostriatal pathway, and noradrenaline dysfunction.

List at least five Symptoms of Major Depression

  • The presence of all three of a low mood, anhedonia, and anergia plus at least any three of disturbed sleep, lack of appetite, ideations of self-harm, worthlessness, reduced self-esteem, reduced attention and pessimism about the future.

List three Classes of Drugs that Precipitate Insomnia with a corresponding example for each class, be specific

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors such as fluoxetine.
  • Dopamine receptor agonists such as
  • Alpha-blockers such as alfuzosin.


Baranyi, G., Fazel, S., Langerfeldt, S. D., & Mundt, A. P. (2022). The prevalence of comorbid serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in prison populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health, 7(6), e557–e568.

Close, L. (2019). Depression & Substance Abuse Treatment Plans, Medication, Therapy. American Addiction Centers.

Stubbs, K. R., Van Bezooyen, J., & Tang, Y. (2022, January 1). Chapter 31 – Managing treatment-resistant depression with comorbid substance use disorders (J. Quevedo, P. Riva-Posse, & W. V. Bobo, Eds.). ScienceDirect; Academic Press.


Neurons are information messengers with three main parts namely the cell body, axon, and the dendrites (Kringelbach et al., 2020). The cell body is made up of a nucleus and cytoplasm and produces protein required to construct other parts of the neuron. The axon, on the other hand, extends from the cell body and carries signals away from the cell body while the dendrites carry signals toward the cell body and have numerous synapses to receive the signal from nearby neurons. Upon stimulation, neurons transmit an electrical impulse that passes through the dendrite, to the cell body, axon, axon terminal, and finally, the stimulus is passed (Kringelbach et al., 2020). At the axonal terminal, the axon releases neurotransmitters that depolarize neighboring cells through synapses and by binding to the membrane of the dendrite.

Subcortical Structures

Other structures within the brain are subcortical structures that act as information hubs for the nervous system. Their main role is to relay and modulate information circulating in different areas of the brain. They include the basal ganglia, limbic structures, pituitary gland, and the diencephalon (Malinowski, 2019).

The limbic systems play a great role in learning and memory addiction.  The systems provide the anatomical substrate for emotions and motivated behaviors, including the circulatory for reward-related events and stress responses. Specifically, the hippocampus is used to mediate a cognitive/spatial form of memory. It controls learning and declarative memory which covers the memory of facts and events (Malinowski, 2019).  The dorsal striatum also helps in memory by mediating the stimulus-response habit memory. Addiction on the other hand is linked to the limbic system through the orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus (Malinowski, 2019).

In line with motor control, the nigra striatal region offers two anatomically and functionally distinct portions knowns as the substantia nigra pars compacta and the substantia nigra pars reticulata.

Glial Cells

Other essential components in the central nervous system are the glial cells. They include the astrocytes whose role is to maintain the environment for neuronal signaling by controlling the level of neurotransmitters surrounding the synapses (Hirbec et al., 2020). Equally, oligodendrocytes wrap around the axons forming a protective layer called myelin sheath which enhances neuron signaling. The cells also include microglia, ependymal cells, and radial glial whose roles are clearing dead cells or removing harmful toxins, maintaining homeostasis, and regenerating neurons and other glial cells like astrocytes and oligodendrocytes respectively.

Neuron Communication

Neurons communicate with each other through synaptic transmission. A chemical synapse is registered at the axon terminal of the presynaptic neuron and the dendrite of the postsynaptic neuron (Malinowski, 2019). The dendrite picks up signals and passes the signals down to the axon, into the axon terminals, and into the synapses. The role of the chemical synapse is to transform the electrical signal in the presynaptic cell’s axon into a chemical signal and back into an electrical signal in the postsynaptic cell.


Brain plasticity denotes the ability of the brain to reorganize itself and form new neural connections in response to extrinsic or intrinsic stimuli.  Through axonal sprouting, the undamaged axons develop new nerve endings and reconnect neurons with severed or injured links (Mateos-Aparicio & Rodríguez-Moreno, 2019). For instance, undamaged brain sites of stroke patients rewire themselves to take over functions of the damaged brain sites. Similarly, the undamaged axons sprout nerve endings that connect with other undamaged nerve cells to form new neural pathways (Mateos-Aparicio & Rodríguez-Moreno, 2019).   For example, exposing the brain to specific grammatical rules helps it process and develop language.


Hirbec, H., Déglon, N., Foo, L. C., Goshen, I., Grutzendler, J., Hangen, E., … & Escartin, C. (2020). Emerging technologies to study glial cells. Glia, 68(9), 1692-1728.

Kringelbach, M. L., Cruzat, J., Cabral, J., Knudsen, G. M., Carhart-Harris, R., Whybrow, P. C., … & Deco, G. (2020). Dynamic coupling of whole-brain neuronal and neurotransmitter systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(17), 9566-9576.

Malinowski, M. N. (2019). Anatomy of the brain and brain stem. In Deer’s Treatment of Pain (pp. 49-59). Springer, Cham.

Mateos-Aparicio, P., & Rodríguez-Moreno, A. (2019). The impact of studying brain plasticity. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 13, 66.