Medication Compliance and Bipolar Disorder

One of the most common battles that a person faces when diagnosed with bipolar disorder is consistently complying with the medication that their doctor or therapist has provided them. This is either referred to as medication noncompliance or medication non-adherence, and can lead to a vast number of problems for both the patient and those around them.

Why Is Medication Compliance Difficult for those with Bipolar?

When diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a patient is strongly urged to take their medication as prescribed, as not doing so can lead to the relapse of symptoms such as mood swings, violent behavior, and difficulty communicating. Even though the effects of their disorder can lead to a wide array of consequences, many users still find it difficult to take their medication regularly for the following reasons:

  • Anosognosia – Anosognosia is the term used to describe patients who are not aware that they have an illness, even if they have been told so. This is extremely common in bipolar patients, leading them to ignore the advice of their prescriber because they truly do not feel that they have a mental illness.
  • Substance abuse – Bipolar disorder is one of the most common disorders that co-occur with substance abuse. This happens as a result of patients trying to self-medicate their symptoms, but unfortunately begin to experience addiction instead. Therefore, when prescribed a bipolar medication, they choose not to take it because it interferes with their drinking or other drug use.
  • Dislike of therapist – A person with bipolar disorder might dislike their therapist for a variety of reasons. As a result, the patient is apt to not want to take any of the medication their therapist prescribes because they do not trust them.
  • Denial – Some patients who become diagnosed with bipolar disorder do not want to believe it to be true. In response to those emotions, they refuse to comply with their medication schedule as a result.

Between not having a strong awareness of their illness, abusing other substances, disliking their therapist, and struggling with denial, bipolar users can find it extremely difficult to maintain a proper routine for their medication if any at all.

Importance of Medication Compliance

It is extremely important that a person who becomes diagnosed with bipolar disorder adheres to the medication that their doctor provides them

Doing so will enable them to maintain a well-balanced life, free of disruptive mood swings and negative emotions, as well as allow them to communicate well with others and develop coping skills designed to keep them emotionally stable.