1A. Identify some of the reasons why persons who are prescribed psychotropic medications do not take them. As a provider, how would you address this issue?

The brain is a complicated organ that allows us to think, feel, act, and move. When it is working properly, we can function well and adapt to life’s challenges. But when it does not, our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can suffer. Many disorders are a result of brain malfunction. When chemical messages are unbalanced or go awry, mood disorders or psychosis can result. Medication can be prescribed to,  “…inhibit or boost the action of particular neurotransmitters” (S. Rosenberg, & J. Rosenberg, 2018, p. 265). Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics can greatly improve mental and social functioning.

However, many people are reluctant to take prescribed psychotropic medications. They may fear the side-effects and dependence. They may also fear social stigma attached to diagnosis. Others may feel so much better after a period and believe themselves to be ‘cured.’ They decide to stop taking their pills and, “Relapse is a common problem among patients attending mental health facilities” (M. K. Iseselo, & J.S. Ambikile, 2017, p. 1). Access and affordability is an issue among poorer urban and rural areas.

Studies show, such as in, “…Tanzania, most health facilities are not equipped with enough resources, which include a continuous supply of essential psychotropic medications that could help improve quality of mental health care”  (M. K. Iseselo, & J.S. Ambikile, 2017, p. 5). These issues extend across lower socioeconomic regions in Europe, Asia, and America. As a provider, I would need to understand and appreciate the particular circumstances of my community.

I would also need to individually support each person seeking help. Everyone should have access to proper evaluation, testing, and diagnosis. If symptoms justify medicinal interventions, the client should understand both the benefits and side-effects. If someone is lapsing on their prescribed dosage, I would help them through their fears. I would direct them toward a qualified psychiatrist who can prescribe the right combination of therapy. Empathetic counseling should always be provided. It can work in tandem with medication to help each client achieve balance and well-being.

1b. Identify some of the reasons why persons who are prescribed psychotropic medications do not take them. As a provider, how would you address this issue?

Psychotropic medications are often a vital aspect of the treatment of individuals with mental health disorders. For many individuals, the use of these medications helps individuals to live their everyday lives with more manageable symptoms than they would have without the medications. Unfortunately, individuals that are prescribed medication do not always adhere to the recommended regiment for a variety of reasons. First, psychotropic medications often need to be taken on a strict daily basis and any changes to this daily schedule can lead to medications not having their full effects. For several of my clients, they struggle to remember to take their medications every day. They then complain that they do not see the effects of the medications. In response to this, I have discussed different ways of helping to keep the clients accountable. By having the client’s guardian assist and be present for when medications are given, parents can be a helpful ally in medication adherence. Additionally, I have recommended that clients set timers on their phones to go off during times when they need to take their medications. Another reason why individuals do not take their medications is that some medications can be expensive, especially if meds are not covered by medical insurance or there are many prescribed medications. When I hear this rationale, I often utilize resources that my internship has for helping to aid individuals that need it. Another reason that individuals do not take medication is the stigma of mental illness in general. When prescribed medications, it forces the individual to confront the idea that they have an illness. I work with my clients to normalize the use of medications by comparing it to taking medication when you have the flu or have a headache. Finally, I believe the intended effects or even the side effects of these medications can be aversive to some individuals. Individuals taking Adderall will sometimes complain that they do not like to feel hyper focused or “like a zombie”. Aversive side effects such as weight gain and suppression of sex drive are often effects that clients struggle to cope with as well. When a client tells me this, I often refer them to the Psychiatrist on site to see if there is another medication, within the same class of meds, that they could try. Another strategy that I have used is to put things into perspective. Some weight gain is not ideal but the ability to regulate your manic and depressive symptoms is crucial and, in my cases, lifesaving.