Anosognosia – “lack of insight” or “lack of awareness” – is believed to be the single largest reason why individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not take their medications. A result of anatomical damage to the brain, it affects approximately 50% of individuals with schizophrenia and 40% of individuals with bipolar disorder. When taking medications, awareness of illness improves in some patients.” ~from The Treatment Advocacy Center’s website
I didn’t have anosognosia, so I don’t have the experience or ability to offer you a personal account of it. I knew I had a problem. Even before getting help in January 1997, I researched schizophrenia. In fact, while I was homeless in Seattle, I carried around a piece of yellow legal pad paper that had the following words written on it:
“I think I’m schizophrenic.”
Still, the delusions were so convincing. Convincing isn’t the right word for it, in fact. They were as much a part of me as cocoa is to hot chocolate. Without them, I — as I knew myself — would have been nonexistent.
Anosognosia must be a very difficult affliction. Bewildering, I would imagine, for onlookers. Even more bewildering for those with it.
If you have experience with anosognosia or if you know of someone who has experience with this, perhaps you would not mind leaving a comment here explaining what that was like for you. Those comments could be very helpful for those families who are going through it now. They may even be read by someone whose life you can affect in a very positive way.