Friday, March 7, 2014

Anosognosia and Unawareness, 4

It can represent a tremendous challenge to family, friends, and caregivers when an individual has anosognosia and cannot seem to understand that he or she has a problem. According to the NAMI fact sheet, approximately half of people living with schizophrenia, and a smaller percentage who live with bipolar disorder, have this clinical feature, along with those who have Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. From the individual’s perspective, there’s no reason they should keep appointments, take medication, or follow through on therapy because there is nothing wrong with them. The individual’s lack of awareness raises the risks of treatment and nonadherence to recommendations. Some of you have dealt with this and are still dealing with it—and it’s not easy. Sometimes it can even be dangerous, especially if the individual becomes angry, defensive, and even defiant. Their response does not mean that you need to pretend the person is well. It does mean that you may need help in dealing with him or her. NAMI may be able to point you toward helpful resources. It you need help, check out their website and do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

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