In a recent issue of the NAMI Westside-LA newsletter, I wrote an editorial about the revolving door policy of many psychiatric wards. NAMI members know that it is usually difficult to get a relative placed on a 72-hour hold. If your relative is mentally unstable and would benefit from hospitalization, and doesn’t want to hospitalize himself, he or she needs to demonstrate that they are a danger to themselves or others, or are gravely disabled (i.e., unable to care for themselves), when the police or the psychiatric mobile response team responds to your call for help. If your relative is able to hold it together for minutes, long enough to satisfy inquiries of authorities, nothing will be done. Often concerned caregivers have to call several times in order for the responding police and/or mental health workers to see the full, florid illness at work.
Xavier Amador, Ph.D
Vida Press: 2010 10th Year Anniversary, 249 Pages
Language: English, Spanish
Dr. Amador is a clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience. He is a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York City and the author of eight books including this national best seller I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! In addition to his books, Dr. Amador was co-chair of the last text revision of the schizophrenia and related disorders section of the DSM IV-TR and is internationally sought-after speaker.
Among his academic and impressive professional credentials, Dr Amador is a past member of the board of directors of The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and director of research at NAMI.
In this book’s latest edition, Dr Amador explains that of 6 million Americans who suffer from severe mental illness, 50% believe they don’t have a mental illness. It is because they don’t have insight, a symptom technically known as anosognosia. It is not an act of denial on the patient’s part, the doctor explains, but considered to be caused by a neurological deficit. It is a symptom of the brain disorder, and not a willful psychological state.
Lack of insight results in refusal of treatment, often medication non-compliance, leading to delusions or hallucinations, lack of personal hygiene and isolation. And for many, drug and or alcohol abuse follow.
The question is, how do we reach our loved one, friend, spouse or patient to get them to do what will be good for them? Although the cure for schizophrenia has not been found, in his book Dr Amador offers us invaluable tools that will help us improve the lives of those afflicted with the illness. Dr Amador’s technique is simple. It is called LEAP, for Listen, Empathize, Agree and Partner. Listening, without commenting or disagreeing. Empathy, meaning showing genuine emotion even in the face of a person’s delusions. Agreeing, in a neutral way. Partnering with the person to achieve shared goals.
Dr Amador’s technique is based on his own personal experience in an effort to better understand and improve communication with his brother, the late Henry Amador, who had schizophrenia.
I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help! is a must for family members, friends, therapists, and members of law enforcement, medical doctors and service providers. It teaches us all how to better communicate and convince someone with mental illness to accept treatment. It is a book that shows us we are not alone, and a guide to the road of recovery for those afflicted with schizophrenia who do need our help.
Review by: Silvia Kloc
Paperback: 204 pages
Mona Wasow supports wholeheartedly NAMI Westside’s Family to Family groups with a strong theme to impart information to families about mental illnesses. By creating rippling effects on the entire family, Mental Illness is like a Skipping Stone.
A new study from World Health Organization researchers suggests that people living in affluent countries, including the U.S., tend to have higher rates of depression than nations with lower-incomes such as Mexico. In nearly 90,000 people face-to-face interviews, researchers surveyed representative samples of people in 18 countries on five continents and assessed their history of depression using a standardized list of nine criteria. Click here to Read More from CNN…
Schizophrenia is a serious and challenging medical illness, an illness that affects well over 2 million American adults, which is about 1 percent of the population age 18 and older. Although it is often feared and misunderstood, schizophrenia is a treatable medical condition.
Schizophrenia often interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, to distinguish reality from fantasy, to manage emotions, make decisions, and relate to others. The first signs of schizophrenia typically emerge in the teenage years or early twenties, often later for females. Most people with schizophrenia contend with the illness chronically or episodically throughout their lives, and are often stigmatized by lack of public understanding about the disease. Schizophrenia is not caused by bad parenting or personal weakness. A person with schizophrenia does not have a “split personality,” and almost all people with schizophrenia are not dangerous or violent towards others while they are receiving treatment. The World Health Organization has identified schizophrenia as one of the ten most debilitating diseases affecting human beings.Your Read More Link Text
Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a medical illness that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning. These changes may be subtle or dramatic and typically vary greatly over the course of a person’s life as well as among individuals. Over 10 million people in America have bipolar disorder, and the illness affects men and women equally. Bipolar disorder is a chronic and generally life-long condition with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from days to months that often begin in adolescence or early adulthood, and occasionally even in children. Most people generally require some sort of lifelong treatment. While medication is one key element in successful treatment of bipolar disorder, psychotherapy, support, and education about the illness are also essential components of the treatment process.Your Read More Link Text
Major depression is a serious medical illness affecting 9.9 million American adults, or approximately 5 percent of the adult population in a given year. Unlike normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss, or passing mood states, major depression is persistent and can significantly interfere with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, activity, and physical health. Among all medical illnesses, major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and many other developed countries.Your Read More Link Text
Schizoaffective disorder is one of the more common, chronic, and disabling mental illnesses. As the name implies, it is characterized by a combination of symptoms of schizophrenia and an affective (mood) disorder. There has been a controversy about whether schizoaffective disorder is a type of schizophrenia or a type of mood disorder. Today, most clinicians and researchers agree that it is primarily a form of schizophrenia. Although its exact prevalence is not clear, it may range from two to five in a thousand people (- i.e., 0.2% to 0.5%). Schizoaffective disorder may account for one-fourth or even one-third of all persons with schizophrenia.
Imagine you’ve just stepped into an elevator and suddenly your heart races, your chest aches, you break out in a cold sweat and feel as if the elevator is about to crash to the ground. What’s happening?
What’s happening is a panic attack, an uncontrollable panic response to ordinary, nonthreatening situations. Panic attacks are often an indication that a person has panic disorder.Your Read More Link Text
A woman visits her dermatologist, complaining of extremely dry skin and seldom feeling clean. She showers for two hours every day.
A lawyer insists on making coffee several times each day. His colleagues do not realize that he lives in fear that the coffee will be poisoned, and he feels compelled to pour most of it down the drain. The lawyer is so obsessed with these thoughts that he spends 12 hours a day at work — four of them worrying about contaminated coffee.
A man cannot bear to throw anything away. Junk mail, old newspapers, empty milk cartons all “could contain something valuable that might be useful someday.” If he throws things away, “something terrible will happen.” He hoards so much clutter that he can no longer walk through his house. Insisting that nothing be thrown away, he moves to another house where he continues to hoard.
A 10 year old girl keeps apologizing for “disturbing” her class. She feels that she is too restless and is clearing her throat too loudly. Her teachers are puzzled and over time become annoyed at her repeated apologies since they did not notice any sounds or movements. She is also preoccupied with “being good all the time”.
These people suffer obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than 2 percent of the U.S. population, or nearly one out of every 40 people, will suffer from OCD at some point in their lives. The disorder is two to three times more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.Your Read More Link Text