Nonadherence to antipsychotics: The role of positive attitudes towards positive symptoms

Steffen Moritz*, Alexandra Hünsche, Tania M. Lincoln

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Approximately 50-75% of all patients do not take their antipsychotic medication as prescribed. The current study examined reasons why patients continue versus discontinue antipsychotic medication. We were particularly interested to which extent positive attitudes towards psychotic symptoms foster medication nonadherence. An anonymous online questionnaire was set up to decrease response biases. After a strict selection process, 91 participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were retained for the final analyses. On average, 6.2 different reasons for nonadherence were reported. Side-effects (71.4%), sudden subjective symptom improvement (52.4%) and forgetfulness (33.3%) emerged as the most frequent reasons for drug discontinuation. Approximately one fourth of all participants (27.3%) reported at least one positive aspect of psychosis as a reason for nonadherence. In contrast, patients reported on average 3.5 different reasons for adherence (e.g., want to live a normal life (74.6%) and fear of psychotic symptoms (49.3%)). The belief that paranoia represents a survival strategy (subscale derived from the Beliefs about Paranoia Scale) was significantly associated with nonadherence. Patients' attitudes toward medication and the individual illness model need to be carefully considered when prescribing medication. In particular for patients who are likely to discontinue psychopharmacological treatment complementary or alternative psychological treatment should be sought because of a largely increased risk of relapse in the case of sudden drug discontinuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1745-1752
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Antipsychotics
  • Compliance
  • Schizophrenia


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonadherence to antipsychotics: The role of positive attitudes towards positive symptoms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this