Medication Adherence in Patients With Serious Mental Illness 

Colorado Recovery provides psychiatric care to adults diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, depression with or without psychotic features, dual diagnosis of mental illness with substance misuse, and other psychotic disorders.

Every new client gets an immediate and thorough psychiatric evaluation by one of our psychiatrists and a therapist which includes gathering full details on the person’s life, their experience of illness, prior treatment efforts including medications, assessment of physical health and substance abuse, and social and vocational functioning. 

We involve close family members in the process of gathering this information. After assessing the client to get a complete clinical picture of their schizophrenia, bipolar diagnosis, or other diagnosis, the treatment team gives an initial diagnostic impression and makes recommendations about further assessment and treatment. The client’s previous diagnosis may change at this point or later, after further assessment.

A careful evaluation of the correct diagnosis and most effective treatment plan is central to the success of care at Colorado Recovery. We provide psychiatric rehabilitation services throughout the treatment process, with an emphasis on getting clients back to work or to schooling.

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner Lynn Bodensteiner joined the Colorado Recovery team in March. She likes the core aspects of the Warner treatment model: Comprehensive levels of care that result in a path to self-reliance and community engagement for connection and a feeling of contribution. “The focus here is on re-integration, which is great,” she says.

Bodensteiner, who has a doctorate in nursing practice, also works part-time at the Stout Street Health Center, a facility of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless—often a more challenging environment. “It’s good to see Colorado Recovery patients taking their meds and getting better, this is often not the case with unhoused clients,” she says. “At Colorado Recovery, there is actually less emphasis on meds, and patients are encouraged to volunteer or get jobs.”

Medication adherence can be a challenge for mental health patients. “Non-adherence is highly prevalent, ranging between 63–74 percent in patients with schizophrenia and about 50 percent in patients with bipolar disorders,” wrote Loots, Goossens, et al. in a 2021 study on medication adherence. “About 25 percent of patients discontinue their medication within the first week after discharge from inpatient treatment. Non-adherence puts patients at risk for exacerbations of psychosis and relapse resulting in hospital visits and admission.”

“Adherence is important for medications to work correctly,” recommends the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “Not being adherent with your medications could result in a worsening of your medical condition, a decrease in your quality of life, and a need to go to the hospital or clinic more often.”

Colorado Recovery utilizes a whole range of treatment modalities, only one of which is medications when appropriate for the patient. In addition to medication management and monitoring, Colorado Recovery provides psychiatric and other services, including individual and group therapy, socialization and recreational activities, and psychosocial rehabilitation.

These specialized services cover the full spectrum of client needs from symptom control to functioning at work and in social situations. Our treatment facility provides the services needed to address schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other serious mental illnesses specific to each individual. Call us at 720-218-4068 to discuss treatment options for you or the person you would like to help.