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Anosognosia

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The anosognosia is not in itself a disease but rather a symptom manifested by the inability of the patient to become aware of motor or cognitive faculties lost . This is how a person with anosognosia lives as if they did not suffer from the pathology they suffer from and does not take into account the danger that their disease can carry . Contrary to denial, which is a behavior of a psychological nature, anosognosia is of a pathological nature, even though it remains a mystery to science today.

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Anosognosia

The anosognosia is a term that evokes the fact that an unknown patient his illness . The person suffering from anosognosia is not aware of his condition or the loss of his abilities . It is not really considered a disease in itself, it is rather a neurological problem or a symptom associated with a neurological problem.

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What is anosognosia?

Anosognosia is a singular neurological problem in which a patient is not aware of the disease he suffers , such as a paralysis of a part of his body, or a neurodegenerative disease.

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Regarding the etymological origin of the word anosognosia, it can be specified that it comes from the Greek “nosos” which means “knowledge” , with the prefix “a” that designates the “deprivation of something” . This being the case, it is the absence of awareness of a disease.

Some might view anosognosia as a denial of the disease. However, these are two different phenomena. Denial is a psychological defense process that causes a person to reject reality while anosognosia is a neuropsychological problem caused by a brain injury .

Causes

Anosognosia can be the consequence of a brain injury . Although the exact location of the lesion has not yet been fully identified, it appears that it would be caused by a lesion in the right hemisphere of the brain.

According to recent scientific studies, the injury that causes anosognosia could have different possible causes, such as:

  • cardiovascular accident or stroke (CVA), a problem with blood circulation in the brain that can lead to the death of nerve cells.
  • Disease Alzheimer a neurodegenerative condition of the brain and causing a progressive loss of neurons and is manifested by a decrease in cognitive functions.
  • The Korsakoff syndrome or dementia, Korsakoff , a neurological problem is usually due to a lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine).
  • trauma to the skull , a blow to the level of the skull that may be responsible for brain injuries.

Symptoms

It should be noted that anosognosia is a symptom as such, rather than a disease. Thus, the signs of anosognosia may vary depending on the disease suffered by the patient . For example, if the patient may suffer from a mental illness, some signs are problems in performing daily tasks , handling money and accounts, and irritation or overly defensive behavior when confronted with the illness. . The conspiracy is another common sign, ie, invent answers or stories and believe they are really true. It is not a conscious lie, it is an attempt by the brain to fill in information that should be there.

In general, the main sign is that the person affected by anosognosia does not admit their health condition as a result of the disease they suffer and is not aware of the consequences that it entails.

On the other hand, it is important to specify that anosognosia does not present physical symptoms as such, which makes it a difficult disorder to diagnose.

Diagnosis

Health professionals diagnose anosognosia when a patient does not recognize their disease . This problem of self-recognition can be observed particularly in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease, or also those suffering from hemiplegia, a particular form of paralysis.

Treatment of anosognosia

Anosognosia is a neurological disorder for which it is difficult to apply a treatment , since it is not considered a disease but a symptom.

In any case, when some type of treatment is carried out to alleviate this disorder, the objectives tend to be:

  • Treat the origin of the brain injury.
  • Limit the risks of complications.
  • Accompany the patient.

In general , the treatment of anosognosia involves a reeducation that helps the patient to become aware of his disease . This awareness favors the treatment of the condition by health professionals.

Examples

Example 1

A patient with total or partial blindness who ignores his visual impairment and who even acts as if he could see.

Example 2

A patient with language problems resulting from his illness who is not aware of the unintelligibility of his speech.

Example 3

A patient suffering from Alzheimer’s who is unaware of his memory loss and is determined to continue his life as he did before the symptoms of the disease appeared.

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