For some chronic conditions, drugs that are prescribed to prevent long-term worsening of the illness may not offer immediate relief—or, as in some cases of hypertension, there may be no symptoms in need of relief. Either way, a patient may find it hard to stick to a daily drug regimen. In other cases, a patient may feel better soon after beginning a treatment plan but mistakenly assume, without consulting a doctor, that the improvement is a sign that treatment can end.
In these situations, social support networks can be an invaluable. Robin DiMatteo, a professor of psychology at the University of California Riverside, recommends having a family member, friend, or neighbor call or visit frequently to offer encouragement. If you live alone or away from friends, or lack a strong support network, consider joining a community or hospital-based support group. "Make up for not having available help from others by seeking it out," says DiMatteo.