Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues in the world today. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of unease, worry or fear, while depression is described as a sense of sadness or despair that can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, behavior and outlook on life. This article will provide an overview of the nursing care plan for anxiety and depression in order to improve the quality of care provided to patients.
Subjective Data: The nurse will obtain information through self-report, such as the patient’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors concerning their mental health. The patient should also be asked about the severity and duration of any symptoms experienced and potential triggers for their difficult emotions.
Objective Data: The nurse should observe the patient’s behavior, physical signs, and responses to interventions to assess their mental health status more objectively. The nurse would also check vital signs and review lab results and medical records.
After assessing the patient’s mental health status and the presence of any physical health problems, the nurse should develop a nursing diagnosis. Common nursing diagnoses for anxiety and depression include:
- Ineffective Coping, related to emotional distress and lack of problem-solving skills.
- Risk for Suicide/Self-Harm, related to emotional distress and feelings of hopelessness.
- Social Isolation/Loneliness, related to fear of being judged or rejected due to stigma surrounding mental illness.
The nurse should collaboratively set outcomes with the patient. Common goals of the care plan include:
- Reduction in symptoms and intensity of anxiety and depression.
- Improving quality of life and resuming meaningful activities.
- Developing positive coping strategies and problem-solving skills.
- Helping the patient strengthen their social support system.
The nursing interventions used to reach the desired outcomes vary depending on the individual patient’s needs. Common interventions include:
- Psychoeducation, to explain what is happening and the possible treatment options.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to help the patient manage anxious/depressive thoughts and behaviors.
- Behavioral Activation, to help motivate the patient to engage in leisure and affirm life values.
- Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), to cultivate personal values and a sense of meaning in life.
It is important for the nurse to understand the research-based rationales behind the interventions. For example:
- CBT helps individuals to identify and challenge irrational beliefs and replace them with healthier thinking patterns.
- Behavioral activation helps increase motivation by providing rewards for achieving goals.
- ACT encourages patients to focus on their values rather than trying to control or suppress difficult emotions.
The nurse should continually evaluate the patient’s response to the plan of care, making changes as necessary. The patient should also be encouraged to provide feedback on their own progress.
When managing anxiety and depression, it is important for the nurse to develop an individualized nursing care plan that takes into account the patient’s specific needs. This includes assessment, diagnosis, setting patient-centered outcomes, selecting appropriate interventions, and providing rationales for each intervention.
- What is a nursing care plan?
A nursing care plan is a comprehensive approach to care which involves assessment, diagnosis, setting patient-centered outcomes, selecting interventions, and providing rationales for each intervention.
- What are common interventions used to treat anxiety and depression?
Common interventions include psychoeducation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Behavioral Activation, and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).
- How often should the nursing care plan be evaluated?
The nurse should continually evaluate the patient’s response to the plan of care, making changes as necessary.
- Should the patient provide feedback on their own progress?
Yes, the patient should be encouraged to provide feedback on their own progress.
- What is the goal of the care plan?
The goal of the care plan is to reduce symptoms and intensity of anxiety and depression, improve quality of life and resume meaningful activities, and develop positive coping strategies and problem-solving skills.