Another key is to help patients understand their own emotional and mental reactions to their disease, including reasons that they don’t follow the prescribed regimen. “Maybe for some it’s financial,” Dr. Fields says, “but for many it’s psychological—fear of side effects, denial, or general stress is preventing them from doing something that has a very high benefit-to-risk ratio and can help them a lot, but they’re not doing it for psychological reasons.”
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Batterman adds that “addressing the psychological and psychosocial needs of the patient contributes to adherence [and] is a very important concept. That helps in the management of the disease itself, but it really contributes to quality of life by providing disease management and coping skills. And that’s really our ultimate goal.”
Kimberly J. Retzlaff is a medical journalist based in Denver.
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