|I am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!
By Xavier Amador, Ph.D.
This is a great book for someone who finds themselves dealing with someone in denial of an illness, like Borderline Personality Disorder. The principles can be used for many illnesses, not just mental illness, and it can make the difference between being a loving caregiver to frustrated caretaker.
Amador provides readers with a blueprint to affect change. Family members who read this will find their frustration being replaced with empathy and compassion, qualities that will enable them to begin laying the groundwork for a cooperative relationship with their loved one. Step-by-step methods for developing that relationship are clearly laid out, making this a helpful and hopeful book. The book debunks some popular wisdom regarding what to do and what not to do. The focus is on building a level of trust and establishing shared goals provides a foundation for helping a loved one seek treatment and to continue with it. The authors personal experience with his brother and as a therapist create an empathetic tone that makes the book relatable.
Amador explains in layman's terms the aspects of mental illness known as "lack of insight" (anosognosia) - lack of insight into the need for treatment and continued compliance. Amador explains this lack of insight to be the result of brain dysfunction itself. Simply put, the brain can recognize when the leg is broken, but cannot recognize when the brain is not functioning correctly. The basics of Dr. Amador's advice is to, first and foremost, treat the mentally ill with respect and empathy; to listen to their concerns as they are expressed and to address those concerns (not yours); to find common ground and forge a partnership.
The book has four parts, each divided into chapters. Amador begins with an overview of the book itself. In the overview, Amador lists the different parts and explains the reasons the different parts are vital.
Part I: Why they Deny having an Illness and Refuse Help begins with quotes from people who have dealt with mental illness of a family member, including David Kaczynski, brother to Ted Kaczynski, otherwise known as the Unabomber. This chapter deals with the reasons mentally ill people refuse help, and the difficulty they have admitting they have a problem in the first place. Amador explains why its important for the families and professionals working with them to know the disease itself.
Part II: How to Help Them To Accept Treatment walks the reader through the process of helping the patient accept treatment step by step: listen, empathize, agree, partnership. Amador shares case histories where he points out the most effective way of getting the patient to listen and compares it to less successful methods. He explains why certain methods are not beneficial for the patient or those trying to work with him, and why other methods are so much more successful.
Xavier Amador, Ph.D.
Part III: To Commit or not to Commit? deals with the difficult decision that the loved ones of the mentally ill must make. Should the patient be committed or not? When is it necessary to commit them? How do I commit my loved one? Am I betraying my loved one by committing them? How do I deal with the guilt of doing this? All these questions are answered very effectively and sympathetically.
Part IV: When The Dust Settles details how to keep a loved one on the road to treatment and some semblance of a normal life. This part also gives a very comprehensive listing of books, associations, and useful websites, as well summaries of laws of commitments by state.
While this book has been translated into 16 languages - there has been criticism of the many grammatical and continuity error in the first edition. Amador confided, "...the first edition which was a labor of love and did not have the benefit of my undivided attention, a professional editor and copy editor. The new edition... had all three (Vida Press, 2007)." We have a bit of that on this Web site, too, so we understand.
Anna-Lisa Johanson's heart-felt introduction gives a wonderful insight of the book. Johanson is the daughter of the David Letterman stalker. Her heartfelt letter exemplifies that the mentally ill person isnt the only one affected by their disease.
About the Author
Xavier Amador, PhD., is an adjunct professor in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City and is on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). He is a clinical psychologist who treats adults, children, and adolescents in individual, couples and family therapy. Previously, he was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons; Director of Research at NAMI; and the Director of Psychology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Amador's expert opinon is frequently sought by the news media. He has worked as an NBC News Consultant and Today Show Contributor and has also appeared regularly on numerous other programs: e.g., NBC's Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CBS 60 Minutes, ABC Prime Time Live, CNN, NBC Dateline, Fox News Channel, Court TV, A&E Network, Discovery Channel, BBC, and PBS. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, USA Today, Readers Digest, the New Yorker.
He has published 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and five books; including: I am Not Sick, I Dont Need Help!; When Someone You Love is Depressed: How to Help Without Losing Yourself; and Insight and Psychosis. His books and other publications have been translated into 18 languages.
# Paperback: 240 pages
# Publisher: Vida Publishers (June 2000)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0967718902
# ISBN-13: 978-0967718903