n South African Journal of Psychiatry - Treatment adherence : article

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1608-9685
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6786



Patients with psychiatric illnesses show a greater degree of non-adherence than those with physical disorders. Adherence to treatment may be assessed using biological measurements, clinician ratings, patient self-report, pill count, caregiver reports and side-effects of medication. Reasons cited for non-adherence include factors related to the treatment, patient-related factors, health care, and socio-economic circumstances. It is important not to make prejudicial predictions of non-adherence based on these factors, or the use non-adherence as an excuse to blame the patient for an unfavourable outcome. Rather, non-adherence should be seen not only as the patient's inability to follow treatment recommendations but also as the health system's failure to provide adequate care and to meet the patient's needs.

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