The vicissitudes of medical treatment are affected in large part by patient compliance. Noncompliance can be caused by a variety of psychological, somatic, and socioeconomic factors. Overcompliance would seem on the surface to be less of a problem, but it too can have serious consequences in terms of treatment success. Several psychological factors account for overcompliance. The physician's best defenses against both noncompliance and overcompliance are to listen carefully to the patient for clues to one of these impending behaviors and to establish good rapport with the patient. An individualized approach is important, and in some cases participation in organized self-help groups is of benefit.
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