WHAT TO DO WHEN A LOVED ONE IS IN DENIAL ABOUT NEEDING HELP
When someone close to you is struggling it can be incredibly heartbreaking. Not only is it tough, but it can be even harder when that person is in denial. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with psychiatric illness. Your friend or loved ones could be worried that people may call them negative words or treat them differently. This prevents them from seeking help.
Treat all Problems Differently
Not all people suffering from being in denial have to do with drugs and alcohol. For instance, Dr. Daniel Amen knew a couple who had marital problems from the beginning of their marriage. The problems consisted of continuous toxic arguments and threatening to leave one another. When counseling was discussed, thoughts of embarrassment and financial excuses came to the surface from the husband. Eventually, the refusal and denial for counseling began affecting the children too.
Steps for Encouragement
Here are some suggestions to help people who are unaware of a problem or unwilling to get the help they need:
TRY USING A STRAIGHTFORWARD APPROACH:
Tell the person why their actions are concerning you.
GIVE THE LOVED ONE INFORMATION:
Good information can be very persuasive, especially if it is presented in a life-enhancing way.
PLANT CONTINUOUS SEEDS OF INFORMATION:
Remind them of good information and new articles from time-to-time. This spikes conversation and, when done in a non-abrasive way, can be beneficial.
PROTECT YOUR RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER:
Work on gaining that person’s trust and they will learn to be more receptive to your thoughts. Talk about life outside of their medical issues.
GIVE YOUR LOVED ONE NEW HOPE:
Many people who are struggling have already tried to get help and it either didn’t work or ended up making them worse. Inform your loved one of new brain technology where new treatment options could be more effective.
Enough is enough
If the person resists, you have to be able to give yourself a break and say enough is enough. If the relationship becomes negative and continuously toxic you should separate yourself. Separating yourself gets you away from the toxicity in the relationship. Also, by removing yourself from the situation, it can motivate people to change. Threatening to leave is not the first approach you should ever take. But eventually, it can definitely turn into the best approach.
Using Force Doesn’t Help
If your loved one doesn’t realize they need to change their habits, then don’t force them into a situation they are constantly resisting. The only time you can force people into treatment is when they are causing harm to themselves, others, or cannot care for themselves.
When is SPECT Brain Imaging the Answer?
At the Amen Clinics we order SPECT brain imaging studies on most of our patients when:
• We are considered someone’s “last hope”.
• We need to look into the details and see if there is something that can be identified that may have been overlooked by another professional.
• Your case is complicated, and you have not gotten better with previous treatments or providers. (In this case, a scan could be life-saving).
Keep in mind, a SPECT brain imaging study alone will not give an accurate diagnosis. However, it helps the clinicians understand the way your brain specifically functions. There are many factors that contribute to a diagnosis with a SPECT brain scan. These are a combination of clinical history, personal interviews, information from families, diagnostic checklists, SPECT studies, and other neuropsychological tests.
If your loved one is struggling and showing signs of being in denial, try planting a seed of information about breakthrough brain imaging. Contact Amen Clinics to schedule a visit, or call our Care Center at 855-474-1347.
Although this article was written with only mental health in mind, many of the suggestions are also helpful for those you suspect are infected with Lyme/MSIDS, which can also have a psychological component to it.
I’m certainly no expert on any of this but I can tell you our experience:
I watched my husband languish for years. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on that would help explain his exhaustion, insomnia, pain, and personality changes. We considered chronic fatigue, diet, and things I can’t even remember. It wasn’t until I complained to a friend that I started to have hope. After listening to my husband’s symptoms, she said,
“That sounds like a page out of my book. I was just diagnosed with Lyme.”
Then I read everything I could on Lyme and even contacted local support groups, which ended up giving me the facts I needed to proceed.
Unfortunately, my husband would have none of it.
I remember trying to get him to a doctor. Nope. Wasn’t happening.
So, while I was convinced my husband had Lyme disease, he looked at me like I’d lost my mind, argued with me, and refused to do a thing.
What it took was falling down the steps.
You see he had secretly been crawling up and down the steps due to severe pain. When the entire family was out he decided to try walking normally down the steps which ended up with him flat on his back staring up at the ceiling trying to figure out if he had broken bones.
He finally accepted the fact he needed help.
I will say that people that get to this level need help from someone who is able to think logically and advocate for them. His mind was impaired, which is common with late-stage Lyme/MSIDS. He would have been fodder for mainstream doctors who are dismissing people left and right as having MUS (medically unexplained symptoms), and handing them an anti-depressant. https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/06/11/dr-eugene-shapiro-medically-unexplained-symptoms/ (Video of Dr. Shapiro urging the medical community to develop ways to prevent “healthcare-seeking behaviors” by parents who believed their children may have Lyme disease.)
On top of this is a very real connection between parasites and mental health: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/10/18/psychiatric-lymemsids/
Each of these articles demonstrates Lyme/MSIDS’s ability to change behavior.
My husband was more aggressive, given to outbursts, couldn’t handle any amount of stress, cried all the time, struggled with insecurity, had hallucinations & nightmares he couldn’t distinguish from reality, and continually worried and accused me of infidelity. At the time I took it all personally as I was uneducated about infectiously-driven psychiatric issues.
We were one of the fortunate ones in that we purposely went to an “out of the box” practitioner with an open mind. She still tested him with the abysmal 2-tiered CDC testing but when that came back negative, did an inflammation marker test which showed severe wide-spread inflammation. I’ll never forget her words:
“The CDC says you don’t have Lyme. I say you do.”
Thankfully, she began treatment on him, which helped him immediately but stopped working after about 10 weeks. I knew we needed to find a different doctor when she asked me to stop sending her Lyme patients. She was afraid of being singled out by the State Medical Board, which is also happening across the globe: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/12/15/everything-about-lyme-disease-is-steeped-in-controversy-now-some-doctors-are-too-afraid-to-treat-patients/
By that point I had learned the horrific details of the way this has been handled by “authorities” and that we needed a practitioner trained by ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society). By that time I had full-blown symptoms as well.
And yes, Martha, I believe I got this from my husband as a STD: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/02/24/pcos-lyme-my-story/
Over 7 years later, we are in remission and so thankful for the help we’ve been given by those who have trod this weary, pot-holed path before us.
One thing’s for sure – mainstream medicine & psychiatry are truly in the Dark Ages when it comes to tick-borne illness and they need to wake up fast.