It's not easy to help someone who doesn't want help. Anosognosia is a classic symptom of an eating disorder, which causes patients to lack insight into their disease and fail to recognise that they have a problem. For parents, loved ones and medical professionals, this symptom can be incredibly frustrating, and often makes treatment more difficult. It's important to understand that your loved one isn't just being difficult – patients with anosognosia truly do not feel sick, and experience their own thoughts and behaviours as normal.
Fortunately, treatment can start even when a patient doesn't understand that they are sick. As treatment progresses and patients start to regain health insight and awareness of the severity of their illness may begin to understand their situation, which can make the later stages of treatment go more smoothly.
Whatever the attitude of the patient, it's essential to have family and friends for support. Whether your loved one ends up going into hospital, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or another form of treatment, family and friends can help by providing love, support, and stability as they go through the process of recovering from the illness.