Borderline personality disorder is a major mental illness characterized by a sustained relationship instability, impulsive behavior and intense affects. Adherence is a complex behavior, from minor refusals of treatment to inappropriate use of health services or even abandonment of treatment, which can be affected by various factors. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the factors affecting pharmacological and non-pharmacological adherence in patients with borderline personality disorder referred to an outpatient referral clinic in Tehran, Iran.
The study was a retrospective cohort. The files of patients with borderline personality disorder referred to the outpatient clinic of the Tehran Psychiatric Institute were reviewed as the first step. In the next step, we contacted the patients and asked them to fill out the questionnaires. Data were collected using the Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI) questionnaire and a researcher made questionnaire to determine the attitude of patients toward pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment and therapeutic adherence. After collecting data, patients’ therapeutic acceptance was divided into three groups: poor, partial, good compliance. The data were analyzed by SPSS software version-22.
Ninety-four patients were involved in the study and fifty four of them were women. In terms of psychotherapy adherence, patients with higher education and hospital admission history have better compliance. Medication attitudes were negative in 54 patients (57.4%), while 40.4% of them stated that psychotherapy or counselling did not help their condition and showed a negative attitude toward non-pharmacological treatment. Additionally, psychotherapy good adherence of the patients (44.7%) was higher than medication good adherence (31.9%). The most common reasons for discontinuation of treatment were medication side effects (53.1%), dissatisfaction with the therapist (40.3%) and then fear of medication dependence (40%). The results showed no relationship between other demographic factors and treatment adherence.
Results of the current study show that attitude toward psychotherapy is more positive than pharmacotherapy. In addition, according to the results, working on changeable factors such as patients’ fear of dependence to medication, dissatisfaction with the therapist, and medication side effects may improve patients' treatment adherence.