Video About ‘Lack of Insight’ Still Stirs Heated Debate: Can Individuals Experiencing Psychosis Make Treatment Choices?

(3-22-19) From My Files Friday – Nearly seven years ago, I posted a blog about whether anosognosia (commonly referred to as ‘lack of insight’ ) was applicable to serious mental illnesses.

I featured a video narrated by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey and produced by the Treatment Advocacy Center. Both argue that anosognosia explains why individuals who are in the midst of psychosis  often don’t believe they are ill or need help.

The four minute long video includes a snippet of a disturbing interview with Eugene Weston Jr., who entered the U.S. Capitol on July 24, 1998, and fatally shot two U.S. Capitol Police Officers: Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson.

After that shooting, Weston was transferred to a psychiatric center at Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina. He told a court-appointed psychiatrist that he stormed the Capitol to prevent the United States from being annihilated by disease and legions of cannibals.

Anosognosia has always been a lightening rod in mental health circles. Some claim the term doesn’t apply to mental illnesses and is being misappropriated by supporters of Assisted Outpatient Treatment to force treatment on individuals who do not want it. Supporters insist anosognosia explains why those who are clearly ill can’t make rational judgments about their need for treatment.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, especially those grounded in personal experiences, on my Facebook page. Look for Pete Earley Facebook to find it.


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.