I am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!

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9780967718903: I am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!
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About 50% of all people with schizophrenia and manic-depression do not understand that they are ill and refuse treatment.

Whether you are a family member or a therapist, in this book you will find hope in what the new research is revealing about the problem of poor insight into illness.

Prepare to be surprised and to have new hope. There is much you can do to conquer denial.

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From the Inside Flap:

Looking back, the strangest part was not the omnipresent government agents, the agonizing radiation weapons, or even my own super hero-like capabilities. What frightens me most is that my manic depression gave me an immovable certainty that it was the world around me that was convulsing but that my perception and judgment of it were unaltered. Thinking of this time leaves me frustrated and embarrassed as well as apprehensive that it might come again.

I read Dr. Amador's book and felt better. First, he concretely and understandably establishes that most denials of treatment are but manifestations of the illness and that it is the illness that is the enemy. Dr. Amador then presents a powerful game plan for penetrating, or at least circumventing, sickness induced lack of insight that will maximize the cooperation with treatment of those affected. When I first became ill, I wish this book had been in the hands of someone who cared about me.

JONATHAN STANLEY, JD Assistant Director, Treatment Advocacy Center and, a Consumer diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

There are several publications that address best practices for clinicians treating persons with schizophrenia. These are written from the perspective of the practitioner. There are a few books written from the perspective of the consumer or of the family member, but these do not incorporate the values of clinical insights, particularly those reflecting recent research findings. The great value of "I am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help" is that it incorporates both the consumer's perspective and that of the clinician. It finds common ground, pointing out where the consumer and his/her clinician can work together in partnership. It is practical, easy to read, and hopeful. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in helping those who, like myself, live with the condition we call schizophrenia.

FREDERIC J. FRESE III, Ph.D. Summit County Recovery Project and, a Consumer diagnosed with Schizophrenia

At last we have a volume for those individuals most closely associated with the mentally ill. In a very readable fashion, Dr. Amador addresses the nature of patients' unawareness of their illness and their need for treatment. He also clearly outlines the relevant research and gives clear prescriptions to help families and therapists deal with patients' obliviousness to their condition. I strongly recommend this to families and therapists of individuals with serious mental illness.

AARON T. BECK, M.D. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychiatry

This is the first book to address the elephantine question running roughshod over families of individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: Why won't the sick person take his/her medicine? Amador, a psychologist who has a brother with schizophrenia, has pioneered research on poor insight into illness, a.k.a. anosognosia, for the past decade and is an acknowledged authority on it. He blends clinical vignettes skillfully with his erudition, and the resulting mix is both edible and edifying. Most important, Amador provides families and mental health professionals with a concrete, step-by-step plan to improve awareness of illness. This book fills a tremendous void in the literature on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

E. FULLER TORREY, M.D.

Author of Surviving "Schizophrenia."

Of the myriad of problems presented by serious mental illness Dr. Amador has focused on the single most critical factor. Breakthroughs in treatment will not be effective unless we deal with medication noncompliance and the related issue of poor insight into illness. Dr. Amador takes this issue on in "I am Not Sick I Don't Need Help" and deals with it head-on, providing vital information and practical advice for both families and therapists of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This book will be immensely helpful to anyone dealing with the problems of medication noncompliance and poor insight.

MICHAEL FLAUM, M.D.

Director of Mental Health, State of Iowa

This is a wonderful book bringing together the personal experiences of a psychologist and a lay person who have relatives with serious mental illness. Dr. Amador's research and clinical experience makes this book a rich source of information and practical advice. It is one of the salutary characteristics of our culture that people who experience pain convert that pain into something productive. People who are victimized by, stressed by, and dismayed by serious mental illness will find this book enormously helpful. It contains information about new research and concrete advice that will be of enormous help to both the families of the seriously mentally ill and to the mental health professionals who care for them.

HERBERT PARDES, M.D.

President, New York-Presbyterian, The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell and, past Director of the National Institute of Mental Health

For so many, it is very difficult to accept the notion that people like Ted Kaczynski or Anna-Lisa Johanson's mother have medical illnesses. It is easier to somehow cordon them off in our minds, just like they have been walled off from society through the centuries, as somehow less human than the rest of us. In this book, Dr. Amador breaks through these walls with personal courage and brilliant science.

Lack of insight in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is the major cause of many of the worst aspects of their illness, and may be the most recalcitrant since it is difficult to treat someone who thinks that nothing is wrong. Dr. Amador has spent the better part of two decades conducting research on this topic and has been the world's most influential scientist in this important area of work. In this book, he prescribes detailed interventions to help families and therapists deal with lack of insight and the many difficulties it causes people with major mental illness. Yet Amador is not an academic preaching from an ivory tower. His poignant personal experiences with people with schizophrenia, including his brother and close friend, are laced throughout this thoughtful, moving, and indispensable book. "I am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help!" is an essential guide to anyone who knows, loves or treats someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

RICHARD KEEFE, PH.D. Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center and, author of "Understanding Schizophrenia."

About the Author:

XAVIER AMADOR has a brother, Henry, who has chizophrenia. Dr. Amador is the Director of Psychology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. He is a world renown expert on the problem of poor insight into illness in individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He has published over 60 scientific articles and his work in this area has been translated into 16 languages by scientists world-wide.

Dr. Amador has appeared on numerous television programs as an expert in this area and on mental illness more generally (NBC's Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, NBC Dateline, Fox News Channel, Court TV, A&E Network, Discovery Channel and PBS among others). He has been interviewed by the New York Times, U.S.A. Today, Los Angeles Times, Reader's Digest, The New Yorker, and many other publications. He has consulted to the National Institute of Mental Health, Veteran's Administration, the U.S. Attorney General's Office and other government agencies involved in mental health research.

He is a practicing psychotherapist in New York City and has published three previous books: When Someone You Love is Depressed: How to help your loved one without losing yourself (Simon & Schuster); Being Single in a Couples' World (Simon & Schuster); and Insight and Psychosis (Oxford University Press).

ANNA-LISA JOHANSON is the daughter of Margaret Mary Ray, the woman most people know as "David Letterman's stalker." Her mother, diagnosed with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, took her own life in the Fall of 1998. 

Ms. Johanson is finishing her law degree at Georgetown University Law School and is pursuing a career in mental health advocacy. She works part time for the Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, Virginia, where she assists in developing legal resources for consumers and families of the seriously mentally ill. She has written for Glamour magazine and has appeared on NBC's Dateline to talk about the problems serious mental illness creates for families. She lives with her husband in Washington D.C..

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