A qualitative approach to explore the service-users' perspectives on antipsychotic medication and its role within the personal recovery framework
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Background: Personal recovery, as defined by the CHIME framework (connectedness, hope, identity, meaning and purpose, and empowerment), is becoming prominent in mental health care policy. The service-users’ value placed upon antipsychotic medication within the personal recovery framework is unclear. Aim: Insight into the individual’s perspectives on antipsychotic medication is needed to gain a holistic understanding of the implications of antipsychotic therapy and its interaction with the personal recovery framework. Method: Using the Psychiatry Story Bank’s database: participant-guided stories were used, collected through open, semistructured interviews. Narratives of 11 participants with a psychotic disorder were analysed using a thematic analytic approach within a phenomenological-constructivist framework. Results: (1) The role of antipsychotic medication varies in different situations and is dependent on the service-users’ needs and circumstances. (2) Service-users desire a holistic approach to treatment with antipsychotic medication as part of a comprehensive treatment package, including the support from professionals. (3) Side effects can have potential lifedisrupting consequences; service-user’s perceive medication to be ideal in the case of negligible side-effects. (4) Stigma is experienced both inside and outside the mental health services, leading to feelings of devaluation. Conclusion: This study highlights the great variety in experiences related to antipsychotic medication. Interactions with the personal recovery framework were identified, posing both openings and barriers to processes of personal recovery. In order to strive for personal recovery, it is essential to put emphasis on the service-users’ own specific set of needs and circumstances.