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Lack of Insight

When illness of any nature strikes, ignoring the symptoms, diminishing their significance, or failing to seek treatment is all too common (Covino et al., 2011; Santos et al., 2006; Vos & deHaes, 2007). The self-recognition of symptoms can be challenging when the abnormalities involve emotional states, behavior, cognition, or perception. Clinicians have observed that people who suffer from severe mental illness are sometimes unaware of the significance of the symptoms they are experiencing or their need for treatment (Amador, 1993; Amador & David, 1998) perhaps due in part to low levels of mental health literacy (Thornicroft et al., 2007). Providers often cite lack of insight (difficulty recognizing one’s own symptoms and attributing the symptoms to mental illness) or "sealing over” (minimizing the importance of the symptoms or their impact) (Tait et al., 2003) as an important reason why people with severe mental illness are not compliant with treatment (Agarwal et al., 1998; Kemp & David, 1996; Olfson et al., 2000; Smith et al., 2013).

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