Shared Decision Making and Medication Management in the Recovery Process

Psychiatr Serv. 2006 Nov;57(11):1636-9. doi: 10.1176/ps.2006.57.11.1636.


Mental health professionals commonly conceptualize medication management for people with severe mental illness in terms of strategies to increase compliance or adherence. The authors argue that compliance is an inadequate construct because it fails to capture the dynamic complexity of autonomous clients who must navigate decisional conflicts in learning to manage disorders over the course of years or decades. Compliance is rooted in medical paternalism and is at odds with principles of person-centered care and evidence-based medicine. Using medication is an active process that involves complex decision making and a chance to work through decisional conflicts. It requires a partnership between two experts: the client and the practitioner. Shared decision making provides a model for them to assess a treatment's advantages and disadvantages within the context of recovering a life after a diagnosis of a major mental disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Convalescence*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Decision Making*
  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Patient Compliance* / statistics & numerical data
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Secondary Prevention