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When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness Paperback – September 18, 1992


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When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness + I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. 10th Anniversary Edition. + Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 2nd Penguin edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874776953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874776959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

192 of 195 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is not one of the many books on "understanding" [a] serious mental illness. This book is a step-by-step guide to more successful interpersonal relationships between family and patients. No doctor or therapist will ever give you these essential tools, because therapists needn't live a life with your loved one - and may not even know what that life entails in a real and daily way. My daughter is a bipolar patient, diagnosed in 1981. Using this book, I have for the first time negotiated a crisis while knowing what to do and maintaining communication with her throughout the crisis. It is the book I always knew I needed. There is much more to serious mental illness than symptoms and medicine. This is the only book I have found that addresses the "more."
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148 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Rawfish on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains what so many mental health books lack: advice. The majority of books on mental health offer a medical or personal description of various mental health conditions. This book tells someone who loves or cares for a mentally ill friend or relative how to help and handle them.
It covers the basics of how to approach and talk to someone who may not be behaving or thinking rationally at the time, to how to work with insurance companies and locate help.
I have purchased dozens of books in my quest to help a loved one. While the majority have been useful, this is the one I wish I read first. If you need help understanding and working with mental illness, this book is a great starting point.
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115 of 119 people found the following review helpful By blbkwrm on September 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is excellent for people with relatives or friends who have severe mental illnesses, requiring occasional (or frequent) hospitalization and so on. It is a good resource in that it gives advice and tips for coping with various situations that absoultely will come up when you have a relationship with a mentally ill person. It is practical, there is no hypothesizing about what causes what, no blaming the family, very little "psychobabble." It's almost a how-to manual. It offers some insight into what the mentally ill person experiences, which is helpful to the family who may be frustrated and overwhelmed and very tired of trying to understand.

But it does not offer much for spouses in a relationship with a person with mental illness. Nor does it extend easily to the family and friends of somebody who has a mental illness or brain disorder who is as functional as the "average" person most of the time, but has frequent, incapacitating mood and perceptual problems.

If your loved one has a mental illness which is not so severe as to require hospitalization freqently, or a large degree of psychiatric intervention, this book will provide you with soem understanding, but not as much practical help as it will for people facing more severe problems.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
An insightful book about how to interact with a loved-one having mental problems or disorders. Woolis, in a caring way, pulls no punches when describing the pain that family members and the person will experience. But she shows how to go beyond the pain and be helpfull to our loved-one and to others in the circle of family and friends.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Butterscotch on December 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful. If you are dealing with a family member who has a mental illness (particularly severe schizophrenia), you will find answers and helpful advice throughout this book. The first few chapters provide insight into the illness and it's especially readable because Woolis doesn't get overly medical. She provides enough information for you to understand about the illness and why your relative may have it. The book is chock-full of useful advice, and we have tried many of her suggestions (with success) already. She walks you through ways to talk to your family member during `episodes,` how to get them to perform basic tasks, how to ask them to take meds, and so on. There is advice for almost every situation. And, the best part is that Woolis treats the illness with respect, and encourages us to do the same throughout the entire book. I really felt that her advice is from the heart, and meant to help us. There is a section on how we need to focus on ourselves too, and that was particularly helpful. The book is very user-friendly, and can be read cover to cover or in sections. Many of the sections answer the questions most family members have, and offer concrete and realistic ways in which to handle the bizarre requests and behaviors that accompany mental illness. Everyone in our family has a copy that gets a lot of use. Highly recommended.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1997
Format: Paperback
Written from a mothers point of view, coping with a child being swallowed by her disease, Ms. Woolis has come through with a compelling portayal of the family and the disease.

The other part of the book is a reference that noone dealing with mental illness should miss. It tackles every issue the professionals miss - like dividing up the care responsibilities and coping with the real life routine of day to day illness.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By paulina michaud on September 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
When my son was disgnosed with a mental illness I started to look for books and literature that help me to understand what was going on, and how could I deal with it. Also, to learn about what to expect in terms of behaviors that I haven't seen in him yet, etc. I found several books that were very good in terms of describing mental illness from the medical point of view, but none of them would say much about the patients as people interacting with relatives or friends. In addtion to that, is common to find description of very extreme and severe cases whose profile may not necessarily match yours. This book is easy-to-read and its content is excellent. It has all the practical information you need to know, and you need to be aware of. Even though it doesn't not go very in depth, the information provided comes from a valid and experienced source who has work and done research about mental illness, so things are explained along with the "reason why" they happened that way and not in other, and why they fit in the profile of mental illness. This book helps people to learn the best ways to deal, act and react to a person who suffers from it in a way that both, patient and family, can reduce the stress and find harmony living together. EXCELLENT
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