Compliance with recommended treatment, or treatment adherence, is a very important clinical issue. In fact, nonadherence to medications poses one of the greatest challenges in the treatment of patients with psychiatric illnesses.
According to some studies, more than 50% of psychiatric patients do not comply with their medication regimens. Nonadherence with prescribed medications can be intentional or unintentional. Intentional nonadherence may be the result of fear of side effects, concerns regarding the stigma of mental illness, inconvenience of dosing medications, or the cost of medications.
Unintentional nonadherence, on the other hand, is more likely to be the result of forgetfulness or lack of insight as to the importance of treatment compliance. Nonadherence to recommended psychiatric medication regimens is linked to poorer outcomes, including increased hospital admission and disease relapse or exacerbation.
Talk to your provider if you have concerns that may lead to medication nonadherence. At PFHL, we believe in working with our patients to develop the most effective treatment strategies. And treatment is never effective with poor medication adherence.
Here are some tips to increase medication adherence:
 Understand your medication. Talk to your provider about what medications you are taking and why. When you understand the benefit the medication provides, you are more likely to be adherent to your medication regimen.
 Talk to your provider about any concerns you may have. There may be ways we can help alleviate side effects or mitigate the cost of medications.
 Use a pill reminder app or set an alarm or calendar alert on your phone to remind you to take your medication.
 Tie your medication doses to a daily activity. For example, keeping your medication with your toothbrush ensures that you see the medication daily (or hopefully, twice daily), which will serve as a visual reminder to take your pill. Pretty soon, taking your medication will be as routine as, well, brushing your teeth. Enlist support from family and friends. Bring a trusted friend or family member to your appointments or to the pharmacy if you feel you may need help understanding or remembering medication instructions.
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