The experience of taking anti-psychotic medication for schizophrenia: a thematic analysis of online video chat interviews


Khalef, S. 2017. The experience of taking anti-psychotic medication for schizophrenia: a thematic analysis of online video chat interviews. Thesis Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC) Psychology
TitleThe experience of taking anti-psychotic medication for schizophrenia: a thematic analysis of online video chat interviews
AuthorsKhalef, S.

Purpose - The purpose of this research is to shed some light on the experience of individuals being medicated with anti-psychotics. The original contribution to knowledge is a study conducted online using Skype to interview young adults with schizophrenia about how their medication affects them socially; psychologically and physically. This will form the basis for further research in the field of counselling psychology, particularly regarding treating schizophrenia. The findings of this study may indicate additional services which healthcare providers can deliver, with the goal of improving the quality of treatment for managing schizophrenia in the long-term. Thus, these findings may lead to a greater focus and investment in high-quality, psychological interventions.
Method – A convenience sample of nine participants (three female, six male), between the ages of 18 – 40 who were taking some form of anti-psychotic medication, took part in semi-structured interviews conducted via Skype. Thematic analysis was performed on the data, with relevant extracts from the interview transcriptions collated to form themes, and was predominantly inductive and driven by the data. The researcher was based in London, UK, while participants were based in the UK and other European countries.
Main Findings – Participants reported their experiences of taking anti-psychotic medication. In total, eight themes were identified: (1) Being Different; (2) Self-Care is Important in Addition to Medication; (3) Successful Treatment Requires a Close Doctor-Patient Relationship; (4) Taking Anti-Psychotics Has Many Disadvantages; (5) Contemplating the Origins of the Disorder; (6) The Self Reframed by Diagnosis; (7) Environmental Support is Needed in Addition to Medication; (8) Anti-Psychotics Improve Quality of Life.
Conclusion - The experience of being medicated with anti-psychotics is complex, and comprised of many factors. It was reported that, overall, this medication improved quality of life by reducing symptoms of psychosis. However, recovery is often hampered by disadvantages such as adverse side-effects and a loss of autonomy. Taking anti-psychotics can also negatively affect an individual’s self-image. From the viewpoint of the patient, medication is integral to the recovery process along with other relevant factors such as self-care, good communication with one’s doctor(s) and access to alternative treatment options. If healthcare professionals familiarise themselves with patients’ medication-related concerns and social needs, they will be better placed to offer the holistic support that is important for recovery. Subsequently, this could lead to greater treatment adherence, and higher rates of rehabilitation.

Department namePsychology
Institution nameMiddlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Publication dates
Print28 Sep 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited28 Sep 2017
Accepted25 Sep 2017
Output statusPublished
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