Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

.How to make sure people take medicines

The most important thing you can do is to educate people about their illness and the medicine.

Some important points are:

• Explain how the symptoms are caused by an illness and, just as with physical disorders, how

medicines can be of help.

• Involve the family (with the patient’s permission) in encouraging the patient to take the medicines.

• Take steps to minimise the risk of side-effects by starting with a small dose and gradually

increasing it to the required level.

• Explain that many medicines for mental illnesses take some time to act (for example,

antidepressants usually require at least two weeks to begin to take effect).

• See patients at least once a week until they show signs of recovery.

• If side-effects occur, follow the steps outlined earlier.

• Stick to simple dosage schedules; many psychiatric medicines can be given once a day (most antipsychotics and antidepressants, for example).

• If you know how many days have passed since the last appointment, you can check on whether the

expected number of pills have been taken by counting those left over in the medication bottle/strip.

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