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I am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!

111 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0967718903
ISBN-10: 0967718902
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Editorial Reviews


I strongly recommend this to families and therapists of seriously mentally ill patients. -- AARON T. BECK, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychiatry

The focus throughout is on building mutual understanding and trust, so involuntary treatment can be avoided,if possible. -- LAURIE FLYNN, Executive Director, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

This book fills a tremendous void in the literature on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. -- E. FULLER TORREY, M.D., Director of the Stanley Foundation Research Programs on Schizophrenia and Manic-Depression;Author of Surviving Schizophrenia.

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.


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.


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.


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."


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Vida Pr (June 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967718902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967718903
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Carol Evans on March 1, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Xavier Amador has performed a tremendous service for families and therapists by translating the research on insight into mental illness into a highly readable and very practical book. Family members and therapists who read this will find their frustration with a "non-compliant" consumer melting away to be replaced with empathy and compassion, qualities that will enable them to begin laying the groundwork for a cooperative relationship with their loved one/client. Step-by-step methods for developing that relationship are clearly laid out, making this one of the most helpful, hopeful books to come along in a long time for those who treat or live with a mentally ill person.
I Am Not Sick...adds to the number of excellent books written for families of the mentally ill, and, in my opinion, tops the list. I just wish it had been available 20 years ago when my sister became ill. I am convinced that she would be much better off today if we had had access to this information.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Carla Jacobs on April 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
The title says it all. As an advocate for people with mental illness, daily I get calls from family members asking, "Why won't my loved one accept--seek--help." Amador's book answers that question: Because the person is suffering from a brain disorder, they think, "I'm not sick; I don't need help."
Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are brain disorders. As such, they may impact the person's ability to make viable judgement about treatment and, in many cases, even preclude the victim of the illness from recognizing they have a treatable medical condition. And, if you do not think you are ill, why would anyone accept treatment?
Amador's book explains in layman's terms the aspects of mental illness known as "lack of insight". At one time, lack of insight was considered to be the results of stigma, and indeed there is stigma surrounding mental illness. Today, science recognizes in some people lack of insight is the result of brain dysfunction itself. Simply put, the brain can recognize when the leg is broken, but the leg cannot take over for the computer of the body and recognize when the brain is not functioning correctly.
Amador does not stop with the explainations. Instead, he gives easy to follow advice on how to help someone you love with amental illness who does not recognize his/her own need for treatment. This book is a bible and a tutorial for people trying to help their very ill relative.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A. Farrington on February 1, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is helpful in many ways but I think it's especially helpful if you're having trouble communicating with a mentally ill person or find yourself fighting with them about issues related to (or resulting from) their illness. This book teaches you about a person's "insight" into their illness and now that I understand that concept, I communicate differently with and have a better relationship with my loved one. This was the first mental health book I read from cover to cover; it is easy to read without overcomplicating anything. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for help communicating with or dealing with a mentally ill person.
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278 of 311 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
(I have just read through this again, and I apologize for it being so long. If you don't want to read the whole thing, the summary is this: this book helps family and friends, particularly those who are new to mental issues, figure out what they can actually do to help in what appear to be hopeless situations, and it helps you a little bit to quit blaming yourself.)
I read this book about the time that a close friend of mine fell completely to pieces -- again.
He's creative, brilliant (a true "high genius"), has studied biology, is unusually knowledgeable about mental illness -- and is violently offended by any suggestion that he might have the same disease that institutionalized his mother for years and which appears to affect about a third of his close relatives (to varying degrees).
There is apparently a book called the DSM that lists the exact requirements for psychological diagnoses. My friend can recite, word for word, all of the sections of this book that apply to his family's class of diseases.
But he can't see that these items have anything to do with his own life.
For example, he may tell you that he has all of the major signs of clinical depression, and that his mother was bipolar, and that there is a category of bipolar disease whose sole diagnostic requirements are (a) that the patient is clinically depressed and (b) that the patient has a close relative who is bipolar, and that FOR ANYONE ELSE, this definition means that they have a sub-class of bipolar disease, BUT NOT HIM.
Like many people with his disease, he has done hallucenogenic drugs because he thought that being freaked out on LSD (or dead) might be better than being depressed.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By coleen peters on October 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am the vice president of the local NAMI (National Alliance of the Mentally Ill) chapter and am only half way thru reading this book but am recommending it to everyone who who has a loved one with a mental illness. Xavier has been there and done that as evidenced by his methods that are working! My relationship with my 23 year old paranoid scizophrenic son has already greatly improved. I am now working with him instead of against him. I know that sounds strange, but it is true. I was doing more harm than good until I read this.
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