Sun, Dec 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Near half of mental illness patients do not take medication

Staff Writer, with CNA

Nearly half of the nation’s mentally ill patients do not take their prescribed treatment, according to a recent survey released on Friday ahead of yesterday’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

About 45 percent of the caregivers of mentally ill patients said the patients would either hide their medication or throw it away, according to the Alliance for the Mentally Ill, which conducted the survey.

“There are several reasons why mentally ill people do not like to take medication,” said Jewel Chen (陳萱佳), deputy secretary of the association.

“Some patients dislike the side-effects of the drugs, some believe that they have fully recovered and others are not aware of their mental condition,” Chen added.

There are cases in which the caregiver has to grind the drug into powder form and add it to the patient’s food or drinks, she said.

More than 40 percent of the respondents said quarrels sometimes arise over the patients’ medication.

Huang Min-wei (黃敏偉), a doctor specializing in schizophrenia, said it is important to take prescribed drugs on time in order to control the symptoms of mental illness.

Relapses could lead to more damage, and the chances of relapse are about five times higher if the medication is discontinued without the doctor’s consent, he warned.

The survey was conducted in September among 198 caretakers of mentally ill patients. Most of the caretakers were parents, spouses or children of the patients.

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