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October 1, 2013:
You have probably met people with the kind of anosognosia that does not come with a physical disability. For example someone who thinks that they are "all that" when they aren't.


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What is Anosognosia?

Neurocognitive Issue and Problems Treating People Who Refuse To Believe They Have A Problem

What is Anosognosia? Basically it is a denial of a disability, or an inability to see a problem that is obvious to everyone else. As a neurological impairment, it is common following brain injuries or disease. For instance, people with Alzheimer’s disease may display anosognosia and insist that they do not have a problem with dementia or lack of memory. Naturally, the family member or caregiver who has to deal with this problem can become frustrated.

Similarly, the Dunning-Kruger effect is often seen as a form of anosognosia. Basically, it indicates that a person who is unskilled or incompetent may not have the mental tools available to understand his or her own incompetence. For example, a bad web designer may think his designs are great and he is a force to be reckoned with, despite protests from friends, family, and clients about the poor nature of the design and its lack of user-friendly content. The effect (named after its discoverers) references Darwin’s maxim that ignorance begets confidence. As part of the definition of the Dunning-Kruger effect, people tend to overestimate their own skill, fail to recognize the skill in others, and fail to see the depth of their incompetence.  If you have ever met an unfunny person who thinks he is hilarious, then you have probably run across this effect in real life. David Dunning, the discoverer of this effect, defines it as the “anosognosia of everyday life.”

Is Anosognosia a psychosis? In some cases, it is possible that it is. For instance, in schizophrenics it may be a form of frontal lobe damage. It can also be problematic in that people with anosognosia and mental illnesses will continue to be re-hospitalized or refuse to take medication because they do not recognize their need for it. In a long term care situation, people with anosognosia are often trained to work around their particular disabilities (if it is related to inoperable limbs, sight or hearing loss) even if the person in question is still unable to recognize the disability.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Dual Diagnosis and Co-morbidity is common with anosognosia since schizophrenia or traumatic brain injuries may have contributed to the condition.