Personal Accounts of Discontinuing Neuroleptic Medication for Psychosis

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We conducted this study to explore personal accounts of making choices about taking medication prescribed for the treatment of psychosis (neuroleptics). There are costs and benefits associated with continuing and discontinuing neuroleptics. Service users frequently discontinue neuroleptics; therefore, we specifically considered these decisions. We used a grounded theory approach to analyze transcripts from interviews with 12 participants. We present a preliminary grounded theory of the processes involved in making choices about neuroleptic medication. We identified three tasks as important in mediating participants’ choices: (a) forming a personal theory of the need for, and acceptability of taking, neuroleptic medication; (b) negotiating the challenges of forming alliances with others; and (c) weaving a safety net to safeguard well-being. Progress in the tasks reflected a developmental trajectory of becoming an expert over time and was influenced by systemic factors. Our findings highlight the importance of developing resources for staff to facilitate service user choice.

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