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Mental Illness Guide: Care, Support, and Education
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Why people with mental illness stop taking their medication

Most of us, at sometime, have not taken our pills exactly as the doctor said to. For example, many people stop taking the number of antibiotics once they start to feel better, even though the doctor said to take them all.

Why may people with mental illness stop taking their medications?

There are many reasons why people with mental illness may stop taking their medications. Some of them are listed below.

bulletThey feel better now and so they think they do not need the medication.
bulletThey do not think they are mentally ill.
bulletThey do not think the pills are helping.
bulletThey feel embarrassed about taking the pills.
bulletThey do not like the side effects, such as weight gain or drooling.

When are people with mental illness more likely to take medications?

bulletIf they are educated about the illness

People with mental illness need to know that they have a medical condition and that they need pills to treat it, just like other people need pills for diabetes.

bulletIf they have a medication schedule that is as simple as possible

If possible, the person should try to talk with the doctor about taking pills only once or twice a day.

bulletIf they take medications at regular times

Taking medications at the same time every day helps it to become a habit. For example, if someone takes medications 3 times per day, they might want to take them with their meals.

bulletIf they use pill minders

Many people find it helpful to use a pill minder for their medications. A pill minder is a container used to sort out their medications for a week at a time. Some have one compartment for each day of the week and some have three compartments per day. pill minders can help people to remember that they did take their medications. If the person is not sure if they took their medication, all they have to do is check if the box is empty. If it is the medication has been taken! The person can ask their doctor or nurse for a pill minder or buy one at the local pharmacy.

bulletIf they use written and verbal reminders

It may help to keep a medication log that can be checked off after each dose is taken. Also, family members can remind the person with mental illness when it is time to take medications, if the person wants help.

bulletIf they are given praise and rewards for taking medications

Everyone likes to hear that they are doing a good job. If your relative is taking their medications regularly, let them know you are proud. Getting praise makes people more likely to continue doing what they are doing.

If you would like to learn more about why people stop taking medications, visit the links below.

bullet Noncompliance negates treatment advances for mental illness discusses medication noncompliance and relapse.