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53-year-old Puerto Rican Female. Diagnosis : Gambling disorder, alcohol use disorder

Decision Point One

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) injection, 380 mg intramuscularly in the gluteal region every 4 weeks


  • Client returns to clinic in four weeks
  • Mrs. Perez said that she felt “wonderful” as she has not “touched a drop” to drink since receiving the injection
  • Client reports that she has not been going to the casino, as frequently, but when she does go she “drops a bundle” (meaning, spends a lot of money gambling)
  • Client She is also still smoking, which has her concerned. She is also reporting some problems with anxiety, which also have her concerned

Decision Point Two

Refer to a counselor to address gambling issues


  • Client returns to clinic in four weeks
  • Client reports that the anxiety that she had been experiencing is gone
  • Client reports that she has met with the counselor, but did not really like her. She did start going to a local meeting gamblers anonymous. She stated that last week, for the first time, she spoke during the meeting. She reports feeling supported in this group

Decision Point Three

Explore the issue that Mrs. Perez is having with her counselor, and encourage her to continue attending the Gamblers Anonymous meetings

Guidance to Student
Although controversy exists in the literature regarding how long to maintain a client on Vivitrol, four weeks is probably too soon to consider discontinuation. The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner should explore the issues that Mrs. Perez is having with her counselor. As you will learn in future courses, ruptures and the therapeutic alliance can result in clients stopping therapy. Clearly, if the client does not continue with therapy, the likelihood of the gambling problem spontaneously remitting is lower (than had the client continued to receive therapy). Recall that there are no FDA approved treatments for gambling addiction, and the mainstay of treatment for this disorder is counseling. Since Mrs. Perez reports good perceived support from the gamblers anonymous meetings, she should be encouraged to continue her participation with this group.
The PMHNP needs to discuss smoking cessation options with Mrs. Perez in order to address the totality of addictions, and to enhance her overall health.

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