Free Essay: Mental Illness and Substance Use

Published: 2023-01-03
Free Essay: Mental Illness and Substance Use
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Mental disorder Substance abuse Drug abuse Psychological disorder
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1946 words
17 min read

Substance use is among the leading concerns in the psychiatric units as they contribute to mental problems. These substances are known to alter the brain of the user and consequently lead to mental illness (White ford et al., 2015). The addition is one of the effects of these drugs and becomes so difficult even when it comes to rehabilitating these individuals. Cases have been seen where even after treatment and rehabilitation, some still go back to the drugs after some time. There are various factors which account for the use of drugs among the various ages in the demography of many societies. This paper assesses the case of Lisa, a victim of substance abuse.

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Lisa is a patient who has been seeing a counsellor due to her mental condition. She has been sleeping outside in a shade her boyfriend's house because she is afraid of cameras in her house. She sleeps with a knife under her pillow because she hears voices telling her to take care of Jonah who might hurt her. She also went back to using illicit drugs for the past two weeks. She appears agitated and restless in the waiting room and is responding to unknown stimuli. There are a number of factors which may be contributing to her problematic substance use. These include anxiety, stress and her history of mental illness.

These cause can be explained using trauma-informed care principles. According to Boyle, individual trauma results from a series of events and circumstances which are experienced by the individual either physically or emotionally harmful and are threatening the life of the individual (Boyle & Delos, 2015). These affect the person's normal body functioning, their mental, spiritual, physical and emotional health. The principles of trauma-informed care for the psychiatric unit include safety, trustworthiness and transparency, empowerment, voice and choice, cultural, historical and gender issues, and collaboration and maturity.

The first principle is safety where people in their sober minds and normal conditions are to feel physically and psychologically safe (SAMHSA News, 2014). Lisa is lacking these in that she feels unsafe and this gives her anxiety. First, she says that there are cameras watching her everywhere in the house and she feels she is being spied on. She also is a hearing voice warning her against her boyfriend Jonah. These events bring about worry as she feels that she is not safe and even resorts to spend her time in the shade outside with a knife under her pillow at night. This probably could be the reason she went back to drugs to reduce anxiety.

The second principle is on trustworthiness and transparency. Lisa is so open to her counsellor. She reveals her lack of trust in Jonah and thus even sleeps with a knife. She is afraid that she might even hurt him if he went to the shade. This transparency is what guides Jane the counsellor in devising a way of helping her.

The third principle is collaboration and mutually. This principle requires collaboration between the caregiver and the patients and even the client's surrounding (Raja et al., 2015). First, Lisa has been visiting Jane for quite some time and thus this shows a good collaboration of the client and the health care provider. Jane also asks for assistance from Lisa's health worker and takes her through a referral process. This would be helpful to Lisa who also supports the idea and is ready to collaborate with both Jane and her health worker.

The fourth TIC principles if peer cultural, historical and gender issues. Lisa has had a previous mental problem. She underwent treatment and was being assisted by her parent. This history of mental illness might have caused her use of drugs. Under this principle, the health care provider engages the parents by giving Lisa's mother the responsibility to ensure Lisa adheres to her medication. On gender issues, Lisa is afraid that she is not as beautiful as the voices she hears tells her that she is ugly. This can also be contributing to her condition.

The fifth principle is on empowerment, voice, and choice. This looks into how the individuals and communities to assist in the healing process. Lisa's parents are apparently mad at her that she moved in with Jonah. This seems to give her stress and thus is a potential contributor to her using of stress. However, Jonah seems to be helping her to some extent. He welcomes her to his house and they live together. His worry is the risk he is in due to Lisa's condition. She also hears voices that are warning her against Jonah and also telling her that she is ugly. This may be hallucinations from her perception of the world around and appears to be a reality to her.

The three possible causes of Lisa's condition serves to direct the mental health nurses in formulating a recovery plan for Lisa. The assessment is essential in that the nurse will know whether the patient is to undergo treatment or a goal for promoting her well-being is to be set up (Sandler et al., 2014). This also guides the health care professional on using their skills to formulate ways of reducing Lisa's mental illness and improve her mental health and also her social health.

Lisa's mental health history will need the nurse to go back to her history. The nurse is to assess how it began, the treatment that she has undergone and the progress she has so far. This may also call for the nurse to seek further assistance from a professional psychiatrist to assess the level of her mental illness. It also included assessing the effects that the drugs she has been using on her mental health.

The anxiety that Lisa has concerning the voices she is hearing directs the nurse to Jonah and her friends. It is from these that the hallucinations can be investigated. The cameras that she is claiming can also be investigated is they really exist in order to determine whether they are true or it's her perception. The nurse can also engage Jonah as the closest person to her in planning for recovery for Lisa.

The tress which apparently comes from her parents' being mad at her may need the mental nurse to also engage her parents. The nurse is to also find out from the mother on how Lisa has been taking her medication. The voices also which may stress her particularly in the sense that she thinks that are ugly gives her stress. The nurse can assess the effects of the tress on her health such as on the neurocognitive development. This is because one's brain is influenced by social and psychological interactions in their environment (Sosso, 2017). Her ACE and health risk is to also be assessed due to this stress that she is experiencing. Other assessments that can be done is on the grey matter volume and substance use disorder.

In order to achieve personal recovery, these factors guide to various health care actions that can be done. The first one is positive psychology, which deals with what is needed for the good life of the patient. This will involve the introduction of in-flow which is defined as a subjective experience of engaging manageable challenges through a series of goals (Slade et al, 2014). It will involve processing feedback from Lisa about her progress and introducing adjustment for her recovery based on her treatment. The difference of this with recovery is that positive psychology engages the client more and aims at improvement while recovery focuses on treating and reducing the mental illness.

The mental nurse can also use cognitive behavioural therapy will also promote both recovery and wellbeing. Under this, the responsibility of recovery lies both in the client and the therapist. It will enable Lisa to develop a meta-cognitive awareness, create a positive identity. It will also enable her to interpret her experience and recover or reduce her hallucinations and wrong perceptions. This serves to build her behaviour and cognitive response positively.

The three potential causes will also enable mental nurses to develop narrative psychology. This will enable them to translate Lisa's emotions of worry and anxiety to words (Slade, 2010). This will involve enabling Lisa to bring out all her worries and emotional distress. She may, for example, write it down since she might not have exposed everything to Jane, the counsellor. The nurses can then assess her condition through this and even use it to take her through explaining her experiences.

The mental nurse can use the TICP principles when engaging with Lisa. She can apply the principle of safety by creating an environment where Lisa feels safe by showing her care and empathy. The nurse can also use transparency and trustworthiness principles by ensuring that whatever Lisa is telling her is to be kept confidential (Carello et al., 2015). She is also to present all information to other caregivers such as Lisa's health caregiver. This will enable Lisa to be transparent and also help other staff members know the goals to set in Lisa's recovery.

The other principles empowerment, voice, and choice. The nurse can involve Lisa's parents and Lisa herself to come up with a recovery plan. Lisa may decide where she would want to stay and where she feels safe. She can also choose who she would want to be her caregiver. The nurse can also encourage Lisa against her thought of being ugly and that she is equally important. The parents can also be requested to understand are and bear with her situation. They are to show love and not get mad at her in order to reduce the stress that she is having. This follows the principle of peer support and mutual self-help.

The mental nurse can also collaborate with psychiatric nurses in developing a care plan for Lisa. This is because Lisa has a mental health history and currently seems to be having a relapse of the same. The psychiatric nurse is recommended they have an expertise in mental health assessment, medication and therapy and assisting the patient. The areas that they work most include anxiety disorders, issues with substances and mood disorders (, 2019). This is exactly the conditions that Lisa is experiencing and therefore, a psychiatric nurse would be very vital. The two nurses also work in the same field and therefore, they both understand most concepts together. They will, therefore, assist one another in interpreting Lisa's condition and coming up with a perfect plan.

In conclusion, Lisa's mental, like any other is manageable. The mental health caregivers such as the burses can introduce the use of the Trauma-Informed Care Principles in formulating a treatment plan for Lisa. It is clear that Lisa's condition is due to her mental health illness history, the anxiety and stress from the environment surrounding her. Her recovery is to follow a collaboration flow, first from the counsellor who directs her to her mental nurse. The nurse then would seek collaboration with a psychiatric nurse, being guided by the TICP principles in coming up with Lisa's care plan.


Carello, J., & Butler, L. D. (2015). Practicing what we teach: Trauma-informed educational practice. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 35(3), 262-278.

E. Boyle, P., & M. Delos Reyes, C. (2015). Trauma Informed Care - Core Principles, Professional Development, and State Update. Retrieved from, 2. (2019). What Do Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurses Do? Retrieved from

Raja, S., Hasnain, M., Hoersch, M., Gove-Yin, S., & Rajagopalan, C. (2015). Trauma-informed care in medicine. Family & community health, 38(3), 216-226.

SAMHSA News - Guiding Principles of Trauma-Informed Care. (2014). Retrieved from

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