A qualitative study exploring the dynamics of patient adherence to psychotropic medication use amongst adult patients with bipolar mood disorder.
Colton, Elizabeth Jane.
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This study explored the perceived barriers of patient adherence to psychotropic medication use amongst adult patients with Bipolar Mood Disorder. Particular attention was paid to the personal experiences of each participant in relation to their mental illness, their treatment regimen and the private health care system. Two main theories were employed as a means to give the questions asked of each participant direction, namely the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behaviour. These theories were employed as a means to help interpret the results of the data gathered since they provide a broad canvas for the exploration of health-seeking behaviour. A qualitative approach was used with a semi-structured, individual face-to-face interview being conducted with each participant. The data gathered from this research was analysed using thematic analysis. Each participant was acquired through a private psychiatrist and contacted telephonically by the researcher, who then organised a face-to-face interview with each participant in a place of their choice. Each interview was audio-recorded with the permission of each participant. A total of 6 participants took place in this research, comprising of 3 males and 3 females who all met the selection criteria for this research. All participants were over the age of 18 years and had been diagnosed with Bipolar Mood Disorder (either type I or II) and had been on treatment for many years. Three core themes emerged from this research: perceived barriers to medication adherence (medication side-effects, cost and availability of medication, alcohol and substance use), behavioural beliefs and attitudes toward taking medication (psychoeducation from mental health care practitioners, phases of illness, societal and social pressure, nature and complexity of treatment regimen), as well as self-efficacy (self-learning research, ways of remembering medication). Although this research mainly focused on factors that influence non-adherence, it also sheds light on the way in which self-efficacy was enabled. This study supported previous research conducted regarding non-adherence to medication to which factors such as medication side-effects and social stigma were determined to act as barriers to adherence, however, this research attempts to explore the personal beliefs and attitudes of people who experience these barriers to their mental health treatment regimen on a daily basis.