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By Xavier Amador Vida Press, 2000 Review by Lisa Perkins on Jun 2nd 2002
Trying to help the mentally ill accept treatment
when they feel they do not need it is difficult to say the least. The decision to
force a person to do something they feel is unnecessary carries a burden not
easily lifted. I Am Not Sick I Dont Need Help! by Xavier Amador will
help ease the guilt and give practical information for those who have to make
this difficult decision. I Am Not Sick I Dont Need Help! begins with
forewords by Laurie Flynn, Connie Lieber, Frederic J. Frese III, all experts in
mental health awareness.
The preface by Amador gives insight to his
personal dealings with serious mental illness. Amadors brother, Henry, is
mentally ill. Amadors love for his brother, he says, was perhaps the most
influential circumstance on Amadors desire to become a clinical psychologist
and schizophrenic researcher.
Perhaps the most powerful preface in I Am
Not Sick I Dont Need Help! is by
Anna-Lisa Johanson. Her heart-felt introduction gives a wonderful insight of
the book and the humanistic approach taken by the author. Johanson is the
daughter of the David Letterman stalker. Her heartfelt letter brings the
realization that the mentally ill person isnt the only one affected by their
I Am Not Sick I Dont Need Help! 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
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.
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.
The last pages of the bookgive
information about Xavier Amador and Anna-Lisa Johanson and their careers.
This book was very easy to read and I
recommend it to anyone who has to deal with mental illness questions.
Throughout the book, Amador gives real-life scenarios and case histories,
giving I Am Not Sick I Dont Need Help! a human angle seldom seen in
self-help and medical books.
I have been a contributing editor for
Suite101.com for over a year in the topic History of the Oto Tribe. I became
interested in the subject of mental health when my mother was diagnosed with
schizophrenia. I live in Southwest Missouri with my husband and 4 children. I
plan to go to college to become a teacher.