It is an unfortunate truth that many mental illness patients won’t take their medications at one time or another. This is known as treatment noncompliance or treatment nonadherence, if you want to be a bit more politically correct.
And also unfortunate is the fact that when a person with a mental illness refuses to take their medication they almost inexorably get sicker. People with bipolar disorder who won’t take their medication, for example, often become manic and then wind up hurting themselves or someone else and end up in the hospital. And watching this happen, as a loved one, is extremely painful.
So is there anything you can do when a person refuses to take their medication? Is there anything you can do about treatment noncompliance?
Why Does a Person Refuse to Take Their Medication?
I think the most important question to ask is why is the person refusing to take their medication. The answer to that really dictates what to do next.
There are really three reasons mental illness patients are noncompliant.
- The medication isn’t working and their illness convinces them to go off their medication.
- Their medication is working but the side effects are intolerable.
- Their medication is working, they’re experiencing wellness and so they think they no longer need their medication.
by Natasha Tracy