Explanatory models of depression and treatment adherence to antidepressant medication: A qualitative interview study

ArticleinInternational journal of nursing studies 49(10):1220-9 · May 2012with19 Reads
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.04.012 · Source: PubMed
Adherence to antidepressant medication is a challenging clinical issue, which reduces treatment efficacy: 30-60% of all patients commencing treatment with antidepressants are estimated to stop taking the medication within the first 12 weeks. Patients' personal beliefs about depression and antidepressants are regarded as central influences on adherence. The aim was to gain detailed insight into patients' personal accounts of depression and use of antidepressant medication and to relate these accounts to the patients' self-reported level of adherence. In-depth, qualitative interviews of 16 depressed patients one, four, eight and twelve months after hospital discharge supplemented by diagnostic interviews and self-report measures. Kleinman's notion of "explanatory model" was used as the theoretical perspective on the patients' illness narratives. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically with "explanatory models" as the starting point. Patients had ambiguous experiences of depression and antidepressants. Patients explained their illness and the medical treatment in experience-near terms. Explanations of the reasons for depression were psychosocial and biology and medicine were not central. However, taking antidepressant medication was a meaningful part of being admitted to hospital, and the adoption of the rhetoric and practices of biomedicine strengthened patients' sense of control and hope for recovery. If medicine was ineffective, the explanatory models legitimised alternative strategies towards recovery, including non-adherence. The patients' reasons for adhering to antidepressants included a range of diverse psychosocial issues, and could be regarded as a central part of their common sense illness management.
    • "Experiences of adverse effects, uncertainty about treatment effects and a negative view of healthcare professionals and the assistance they provide seem to influence levels of adherence negatively (Anderson & Roy, 2013; Badger & Nolan, 2006; McMullen & Herman, 2009; van Geffen et al., 2011). Patients in long-term treatment can be afraid of reducing or stopping taking antidepressant medicine because it could create a psychological imbalance and relapse into depression (Buus et al., 2012; Dickinson et al., 2010). In addition to these clinical issues, levels of adherence have been described as influenced by general sociocultural beliefs about medicine taking as something that ought to be minimised and by the stigma imputed to depression and the treatment of depression (Maxwell, 2005; Verbeek-Heida & Mathot, 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study of medicine taking is controversial as it often reveals a discrepancy between healthcare professionals' advice and patients' actual behaviour. Qualitative researchers have examined depressed people's adherence to prescriptions of antidepressants by exploring the meaning they impute to the medicine and their use of the medicine in the wider context of their everyday lives. This paper contributes to this area of research by means of a prospective research study focussing on depressed patients' perspectives on taking medicine and how they change through time. The study included consecutive semi-structured interviews with 16 people four times during the year following an admission to hospital for depression. Data were collected in 2008–2009 in the Region of Southern Denmark. The study was based on an interactionist conception of social career and data were analysed thematically. Findings indicated that participants were confronted with recurrent challenges related to being depressed and taking medicine, and they learned how to manage these challenges in a post-admission career with two distinct stages: the basic restitution stage and the frustrated search stage. Medicine-taking depended on a number of career moving tensions and problems. The basic restitution stage was characterised by the participants' readiness to take medicine in accordance with healthcare professionals' prescriptions and advice. Half of the participants experienced being challenged by unacceptable prolonged mental, social, and/or physical distress, and they moved to the frustrated search stage, which was characterised by an alternative perspective on taking medicine that included increased self-regulation and less involvement of healthcare professionals and next of kin. Healthcare professionals played a very peripheral role in most participants' lives and unsatisfactory interactions often isolated participants and left them to solve their own problems.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014
    • "Kleinman [13] also notes the importance of the single narrative for our understanding of the experience of illness and of caring for people who are ill. We used Kleinman's explanatory models of illness (EMs) [14,15] to conceptualize how our respondent explains epilepsy. Explanatory models constitute a way of understanding how people recognize an illness, explain it, and respond to it [16,17]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In South Africa, epilepsy is poorly understood and managed. The different cultural understandings and terms used to explain the condition across the diverse population groups exacerbate this problem. In this article, we describe the findings from a single story about epilepsy which we elicited through a semistructured interview guide in the respondents' natural setting. We used Kleinman and Benson's mini-ethnographic questions to explore the lay carer's explanatory models about epilepsy. Our respondent had different descriptors for epilepsy which include 'an illness of falling', 'an illness of fitting', and 'a thing'. His explanatory models concerning epilepsy were predominantly sociocultural, psychological, economical, and political in nature and were supported by personal examples from his past and present experiences. Key to this man's story is the reality of a strong cultural base of understanding epilepsy, with the added reality of an urbanized world in which people feel alienated from one another and do not necessarily share the same cultural beliefs and practices. Instead of viewing understandings of epilepsy as either 'traditional' or 'western', community-based health promotion interventions must therefore recognize both cultural issues and urban realities and should also incorporate approaches that foster a common ground for patients and carers with very diverse views. The findings of this one interview cannot be generalized but have implications for managing epilepsy in an urban African context.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Depression is one of the most commonly encountered mental health problems leading to significant morbidity and mortality and high medical and societal costs. Antidepressant prescribing in the UK has more than doubled in the last decade. There are a variety of factors that have been shown to affect a patient's experience of taking antidepressants The aim of this research was to explore patient narratives interviews about depression and its treatment in order to improve patient and health professional understanding of what it is like to use antidepressants. Methods: This study involved a supplementary secondary qualitative analysis of 80 in-depth narrative interviews from Healthtalkonline. Patients' experiences of using medicines for depression were explored in the context of their social, occupational and emotional impact, to identify any additional issues and to clarify what type of information people want to find after being prescribed a medicine. The interviews were conducted by the University of Oxford and had received ethical approval and been consented and copyrighted for this purpose. Data were analyzed thematically. Results: The most prominent theme was the coexistence of several conflicting issues around the use of medicines and participants were mostly influenced by the reality of their experiences, beliefs, attitudes and interaction with health care. Antidepressants appear to occupy a central place in many people' lives. Many people described how their medicines had helped them and how this served as a reinforcement to continue taking them in order to maintain a "normal life." Those who had stopped taking their antidepressants were likely to have experienced adverse reactions and had unsatisfactory interactions with health care professionals. A lack of information about antidepressants was a major cause of dissatisfaction often shaping attitudes to antidepressants'. Conclusions: People's experiences with antidepressant use have a major impact on treatment continuation and hence treatment outcomes. Further studies are needed on depressed patients' beliefs about their depression and treatment and how they relate to different stages of illness, their interactions with health care and their adherence to antidepressants.
    Article · Dec 2012
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