Do you remember to take your medicines as prescribed by your physician? Do you always take your medicine the correct number of times and in the right dosage? Are you diligently following the restricted diet as prescribed by your doctor? If the answer to any of the questions is no, then you are among the 50% of the patients who do not take medications correctly and suffer higher healthcare costs in the long run.
One can observe a common trend in patients with initial symptoms of the illness. Initially, he or she tries to stick to the physician’s prescription and diet, hoping to get an instantaneous relief from the symptoms of illness. Despite taking the medicines, when the patient does not get immediate relief, his faith in the doctor and the medication begins shaking, and with no second thoughts, he starts skipping the prescription. The patient’s bias against the medication turns firm when he notices that skipping the medicine once or twice has not worsened his condition immediately. The patient becomes further assured that the suggested medication was not the right one and leaves it altogether–even without consulting with his doctor. Sometimes, the causes of quitting the medication also rest on the patient’s fear of the medicine’s side- effects.
We don’t realize that when we seek a doctor for relief from certain symptoms, the doctor gives us medicine not just to relieve us of our discomfort. He also gives medicines as per the diagnosis arrived at that point in time. Sometimes, the correct diagnosis takes longer, and our impatience makes us give up the medication! We don’t realize that it is a combination of medicines that works the best on a problem. And it may take the doctor some time to arrive at the right combination. More chronic situation like a cardiac problem, where the ailment has been correctly diagnosed and the line of treatment is on the right path, patients should continue to stick to the medication. Not only because it is the medicine that keeps the condition from getting worse. The medicine also tries to curb the damage to the organ and saves your life.
Do you know how can you avoid from slipping into the psychology of faltering on your medications? Follow these basic rules:
1. We all understand that doctors are busy professionals, and mostly do not have time to explain the medication to the patient. Don’t be cowed down by the poker face of your doctor. Ask him questions. Take more interest in finding out what the medication is supposed to do and exactly how should you take it. What will happen if you miss your dose? How often the medication has to be refilled? If you are interested in your wellness, then why not take interest in learning about your medication!
2. Ask your doctor about the possible side effects and the risks of taking and NOT taking the medication. You may feel motivated to stick to the medication if you understand that the side effects do not outweigh the benefits of taking the medication.
3. If you keep forgetting to take your medicines on time, then devise techniques that would enable you to stick to your medication. Eg. Ask your 2-3 loved ones to give you a reminder through phone, set phone reminder, set up a routine.
4. Look for reasons to NOT to cancel your next appointment, and keep all appointments. The more you will see of your doctor, and talk to his team, the more you are likely to be inspired to stick to the medication. Allay your doubts and find out whether the medication is working or not. DON’T decode for yourself how good or bad the medication is. You let the doctor decide the medicines for you. Now let him only decide if the medicines prescribed by him are working or not.
5. Ask your doctor for less expensive alternatives of the medicines prescribed.
All your doubts and uncertainty about your medication can be resolved if you remain in constant touch with your doctor. You had decided to let him take charge and decide the medication for you. Let your decision come full circle and allow him an opportunity to decide whether the medication is good or bad, whether it is working to achieve your wellness or not.