Denial of Mental Illness, or anosognosia, is a physiological syndrome that makes a person unable to understand that they are sick and dysfunctional and that their judgment is impaired.

a) About 50% of people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not believe they are ill

b) About 20% ofU.S. women will have a major depressive episode in their lifetime, and 13% of U.S. men

c) Major depression may present itself as a depressed mood and loss of interest for 2 weeks or more, plus 4 of these symptoms:

(1) Sleep problems-insomnia or day sleeping

(2) Low energy

(3) Significant weight loss or gain

(4) Loss of appetite

(5) Difficulty concentrating

(6) Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness

(7) Thoughts of death or suicide

(8) Decreased interest in socializing

(9) Morbid or illogical and irrational or delusional thinking

(10) Hearing voices

(11) Odd and peculiar out-of-control behavior, including grandiosity, recklessness, overspending or gambling

d) Anosognosia is an impairment of the frontal lobe of the brain which controls self-awareness, which results in an inability to perceive that person’s dysfunctional state.

Solutions to Overcoming the Denial and your loved one’s refusal to accept evaluation and treatment:

a) Be kind

b) Share your own problems, but be firm

c) Don’t attempt reasoning with an unreasonable person when you can see it doesn’t work

d) Make anappointment now with Dr. Covert, with your spouse, to discuss the affect this is having on your family and possible solutions, including involuntary hospitalization

e) Educate yourself beforehand on the provisions of the Texas Mental Health Code and the Probate Code elements of a comprehensive guardianship, for both medical and financial affairs

f) Seek referral from your psychiatrist to an attorney board certified in guardianship matters to discuss your legal options and take action

g) Resolve to stop being held hostage to a mentally disordered family member

Dr. Covert does not believe in sacrificial parenting nor in denial as a means of dealing with your child’s or other family member’s cognitive, emotional and behavioral dysfunction.

He will support your attempts to reassert appropriate and reasonable parental or family authority in your family member’s best interests.

Posted on 10-1-2010