Anosognosia Epidemic

anosognosiaIf you’ve never heard of “anosognosia”,  this would be a good time become familiar with the term. I believe this disorder is becoming very common for a variety of reasons. It’s never discussed.

Anosognosia is a condition in which a person with a disability is cognitively unaware of having it due to an underlying physical or psychological problem.   The word is derived from ancient Greek. It translates to roughly to “lack of knowledge of disease”.  You see this with people living with schizophrenia, who think they are fine. It’s also common in dementia patients.

A stroke can leave a person with this condition and it’s pretty clear to me, trauma can cause it is well. I want to get into this because for several reasons. First, many people have never heard of it, but beyond that, the internet may tell you what it is but there’s little instructions around how to deal with it.

I believe there is an uptick with this for a number of reasons. The aging population, for sure.  But also drug use; including pharmaceuticals, as well as medical conditions that are developing, tied to pandemic related stress of all kinds on all levels (physical, emotional, psychological).

The idea is, the person is impaired but they can’t perceive it.
If you’re the one dealing with them, you can see it. You can see something so you say, “Hey!  Are you okay?”

gaslightingThe person tells you they’re fine, because they have anasognosia.

They sound like themselves so you set aside your concern.  It’s a bit like gaslighting… yourself.  You can see something is wrong with your loved one but they deny it and you accept this because why wouldn’t you?

But weeks or months pass, and this person in your life, continues to struggle. This is not a problem that will fix itself in most cases, so you continue to see the cognitive and/or emotional changes.  Chances are, you continue to ask the person how they’re doing. They’re doing fine, and there you are stuck, because you know they’re not fine!

From here, it gets worse as the person’s condition continues to degrade. You think they must notice; you try to get them to “own it”, but they just get mad or sad or something because they just can’t see it.

Doctors aren’t generally a great help. This irks me because I think they’ve been far more helpful in the past. But at this time, this condition is either missed or broadly denied.  It’s too much trouble.

Frankly, I don’t think people care all that much about others at this point in time. So the impaired person can easily carry on for quite some time, with the people around them working to pick up the slack created by their deficits, while wondering why their loved one has changed. They also wonder how to change them back, not knowing the condition may be permanent and in fact, worsening.

If you’re dealing with something like this, I hope this post helps you identify it.  It helps a lot when you come to understand, that piece of brain is just not there.

If you are in this situation, here’s helpful way to see this…

Imagine the person with anasognoisa lives on one side of the street. It’s the crazy side.  That’s not a slur. I’m just explaining this.

If you do not have the condition, you are on the other side of the street; you have all your faculties.

This is the important part: you can cross the street and hang out with this person, just fine. But the traffic cannot flow in both directions. The person just can’t know that which has become unknowable for them, though chances are you’ll  probably pine for such a happening.

It takes some practice but eventually the fog clears and you can see this situation, plainly.

I feel this is related to this post to some degree:

Why Is Everyone So Messed Up?

We, as a collective, have really screwed  people up. This post is intended to tip people to this condition in the hope it spares someone pain.

It’s also related to this post:

Prevalence Of Autism & Autoimmune Stuff

The fact is, most everyone is on one drug or the other, prescribed, recreational, cannabinoids and an endless array of supplements as well.

Now when all these things collide with your brain chemicals, there will be a result.  And the affected person won’t necessarily be aware of their own impairment.

Now that may not be textbook “anasognosia” but it’s similar and with Saturn and Neptune in Pisces, I just think this is good info to have. 

9/4/2023 – Pulling this up to state plainly: if you have an elderly parent (or spouse or whoever), acting an ass, they may very well be impaired. If so, it will be very hard on you, but if you understand it, it will help you stay sane! This is a also a topic I know a lot about.

Are you dealing with this in your life? Have you ever?

43 thoughts on “Anosognosia Epidemic”

  1. This is interesting. I appreciate the post. It also sounds like my husband and his denial of his dementia diagnosis. He thinks he’s just fine, and clearly he is not. No memory past about 2 minutes. Doesn’t know where things go any longer and has lost all memory of how to use a computer and he used to be an excel genius and an excellent accountant. Those skills are now lost. He still says ‘I’m fine’ all the time. I don’t think this fog is going to clear for him. For me, I have just learned to go along with what he is saying. I do have Libra, so the path of least resistance is my choice. I have accepted this as part of my journey. He needs my help. Still very challenging for my Virgo moon and wanting to correct him. 🙂 Oh, the lessons we are faced with and the calling we get that we didn’t expect. Life is interesting on so many levels.

    1. Yes, you’re the kind of person I am trying to reach with this. I hope it helps, to see there is a hard line there, because *there is a hard line there*.

      1. Elsa,

        This is AWESOME!
        Thank you so very much,just wish I could have known about it earlier.

        God bless you for all your inspiring work.

  2. Elsa, what an important article. I lost 2 friends. I had 2 male friends with hearing issues as they aged. 1 friend wouldn’t wear his hearing aids. Basically he would have 1 sided conversations with HIMSELF. I felt so bad for him as he became more isolated. With the 2nd male friend; he went to the doctor to prove me wrong when I suggested he had a hearing issue. He needed hearing aids for both ears. He then was mad at me! Neither one realized how much human interaction they were missing.

    1. Yes! We need to talk about it. People are suffering from this, while the whole world ignores it.

      I have a lot more to say on this subject!

    2. In simple terms, it’s called lack of insight. I work with this all the time (mental health worker for 15 years). Local mental health centres provide support for people with lack of insight whether it’s dementia, schizophrenia or substance use. Unfortunately not enough resources to help all the homeless, but we try. Would like to mention (respectfully) that the term schizophrenics is considered derogatory. It is a person living with schizophrenia, just like you would say a person living with cancer.

  3. I also think this is the reason for a lot of divorces that take place in a person’s 60’s and even 70’s.

    One spouse falls, the other has no idea what’s going on and winds up leaving.
    Sometimes both spouses are affected and doctors have no time at all to explain this to people, assuming they understand themselves.

    1. “Sometimes both spouses are affected “ I became extremely ill around my 2nd Saturn return and was diagnosed with MCS multiple chemical sensitivity. The condition you describe are manifestations of MCS. Elsa, you know my husband and I built a small wheeled home made without chemically harmful materials etc. But what we couldn’t build in was acceptance and understanding: in the 15 years since building and living with MCS we moved dozens of times (smart us we build s home that moves)
      Being renegades to begin with now we are old, the disease and the conditions that cause and exacerbate MCS leave both my husband and I worn down. Cognitive functions in renegades who are used to fighting for “recognition” look like just more of the same old same old. But, as you say Elsa, there is a hard line.
      I’m glad you’re posting both videos regarding partnership and this article because they are interconnected. My strong Jupiter (conjunct Venus in the 11th house) still needs to leave .To weather a Pluto transit to a natal Jupiter t-square (my husband’s) I will need that Guide for Saturn in Pisces to stay and get REAL help. I’ll be in touch.

  4. By the way, this strikes the highly intelligent, to a higher degree. It’s part of the gift/curse thing. And when a person is known for being intelligent and/or authoritative; when they say they’re okay, it’s believable.

  5. Yes, I’m dealing with it though not knowing “it” by that name. Age does amplify the missing pieces ; connected with the astrology of partnering issues you’re rehashing for us; the generations of addiction and (for me) not owning my Sagittarius gene of being a wild horse.
    I’m an old wild horse partnered with an old wild horse having a Pluto transit to his Jupiter!
    There are things I’ve tried to outrun all my life. Old horses do pasture and it’s those environments of care that matter … always did and do matter
    My friend found a way to leave tiny “Be Kind” sticky notes all over and in books in the local library. That’s good information ❤️

  6. My sister has mental health issues. I took a course with NAMI National Alliance of Mental Illness. I learned that some people do not realize they are ill because it depends upon which hemisphere/side of the brain is affected.

  7. My mother is going through this. We can talk to her about anything current and she can tell you all about the past. But she is convinced that the woman living in the condo upstairs wants her out and is spying on her, drilling holes in the ceiling, taking pictures. Everything is completely fine and we can be visiting but as soon as she hears the woman upstairs, she is convinced she’s stomping around, following her. Mom tells us every time she’s going to call the police and her lawyer (she doesn’t). We know she believes this is happening. At least we try to change the topic and it works. But now she’s at the point where she says she won’t go on her deck because the woman smokes or waters her flowers or whatever. That’s starting to worry me because Mom doesn’t go for walks and the deck would be nice for her to get fresh air. We bought her a nice set of chairs, table, flowers…

    My brother and I have talked…she’s not in distress or frightened. At what point do you realize someone has their own agency and at what point are they beginning to close their world down to a tiny three room condo?

    That’s a question that could be for a forum thread…

    Thank you, Elsa for bringing this up. I’d never heard of this word or condition and it does tie into many things we might sense nowadays.

  8. When my mom was experiencing dementia in the early stages there was a seminar about aging/alzheimer’s at a local senior center. Typically it is a crisis situation that forces their end limit of their agency. Due to the seminar I then went to a lawyer and set Power of Attorney for Property and Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Mom had a will and her house was in a trust. You cannot foresee the future but you can try to set up documentation to deal with whatever may happen when they are not able to help themselves. It’s heart breaking for all. My mom thought her neighbor would take her house.

  9. My mother was showing clear signs of dementia and I was concerned so took her to be evaluated by a specialist. I sat with her as she went through the tests. She did fail some but most she passed okay. He said she had severe dementia! I didn’t think it was progressed that far- just wanted to get a bead on what was going on. While waiting in the waiting room she said “I can’t believe you think I have Alzheimer’s!”. I couldn’t believe she was that advanced!
    It broke my heart to hear the diagnosis but it made her feel ashamed and she rejected it. “I’m fine!” She’d say. I had to realize she couldn’t see what the doctor and I saw.

  10. Elsa is so right about doctors not being of help. My mom fell and shattered her elbow. The orthopedic surgeon was insisting we operate. He didn’t “see” she had dementia. I was adamant and said I am Power of Attorney. We are doing it my way. With rehab she recovered successfully. She fell again within 10 months and broke the other elbow! Then at that time, he “saw” her and her dementia agreed no surgery. The medical community sees stats and not your loved one. A hospital tried to kick my mom out when I said No to unnecessary tests. I contacted the hospital’s social worker. He intervened and they moved her to the hospital’s rehab. Another doctor wanted to give her a pap test. My mother would have kicked her teeth out; I declined. My mom was physically fit like an Olympian but when you loose your mind you loose yourself.

  11. Because there is so much denial in the collective, most transparent in the last few years, I think it supports denial on an individual level, that’s why it feels epidemic. It’s frustrating if you are not aligning with that way of functioning, it’s also dangerous in that it constantly challenges your integrity. In some ways it acts as grist for the mill for staying in integrity, but it’s also tragic, sad, and confusing to be surrounded by lies and liars (I’m being harsh here because it’s an unconscious problem until it’s not, but the effect is that of chronic lying). I’m hoping it’s a transitional stage and part of a gradual acclimatisation to the new reality. I’m talking here about the trauma related version, psychological, ego based issue, not medical neurological conditions with loss of brain function, but there maybe some emotional/biological overlap. I guess it’s either that or people decide to check out completely, there’s a lot of people leaving.

  12. How glad I am to learn about this word. I will Google it right away!

    Cause yes – this is definitely the case for my dad. He is a traumatized boy growing up with a very difficult set of parents (his dad was clearly affected by autism!).
    His parents fought, and was physically abusive to each other. My dad’s mom had an alcoholic streak which my dad took up as well but have always denied the issue with)
    During his childhood he had to live with relatives from he was a toddler due to his parents’ fighting.

    My dad’s drinking, undiagnosed ADHD and choleric temperament has traumatized all of us while growing up. He now lives alone, drink a lot, suffer from dementia, still has undiagnosed ADHD and is quite frankly impossible to have a relationship with. He has been allowed to still drive a car, and will cheat and use all means possible to keep it that way. He is a destructive person, ruining relationships, family, self worth, self confidence and whatever else you can think of.

    I can see in both his and my mom’s chart that both of them has Venus opposite or square Venus.
    In my own chart, my own Chiron is quinqunx Neptune in Sag.
    Truth hurts, but can also heal.

    Therapy has been my friend, but in my relationship history I have seen the Neptune-Venus issue again and again, often either involved with Pisces factors and/or Sagittarius (truths).

    There had been the “final drop” when they see the distortion they believed about the relationship, me or themselves, and the following (nasty) breakup.

    And I have been left to see the real truths afterwards.

    My current BF has a square between Rx Venus in Gemini / Saturn + Mars in Virgo and Sagittarius Neptune in his 12th house)

    He has a lot of issues with his digestive functions, diary allergy and a lot of other problems which *I* seem to be the only one viewing as problematic (I have suffered a lot with my own digestion through the years and have taken action accordingly to fix it), but these issues I bring is not viewed as a problem for him. This has caused immense tension and conflict in our relationship since the beginning, because he is almost too sensitive to being criticized… And is also afraid of the doctor.

    We know about the gut-brain axis, but try to convince a man with this constellation of that! It’s like trying to tell my dad he has an issue with alcohol abuse.

    I don’t know how to deal with this, as I am really frustrated and and angry and worried about his mental health in his coming of older age (he is 40 but Parkinsons Desease starts a lot years before the diagnosis, and is caused by bacteria from the stomach traveling up through the spine and into the brain where it causes damage to the brain cells.
    The research has been published several places the past years.

  13. Yes I have been through some extremely unpleasant shit over the last – well since Pluto went into Capricorn and my tenth house, and more in the last 3 years, and wondered if I should opt out – I know I am different somehow, I have been quietly raging for years, and know this isn’t mentally healthy, in fact has probably done some damage.

    1. Hi Jac,
      I don’t know you, but it sounds like you’re hurting a lot. Sorry if I’m reading this wrong, I mean no offense.
      I think it’s normal to wonder about “opting out”, especially in this time of increased alienation and confusion. I think about it too, but I try to remember that at some point, I’ll feel good again and be glad I didn’t. There’s always tomorrow.
      Although there is a lot to be enraged about, we ourselves are the ones who suffer from that feeling.
      Simple things can help: a walk outside, clean healthy food. Reducing or eliminating sugar, and caffeine. Cutting way back on salt.
      If you are struggling, there are lifelines…if you haven’t already, please do consider seeking someone to talk to, or a group to join.
      I hope I haven’t overstepped. Please accept my sincere apology if I have!

      1. Thank you so much for your concern ADE. I don’t keep a diary consistently, but it was only at the end of July that I knew the situation that I was in was untenable. My married neighbour had been stalking me for years, and I was beyond disgusted at his behaviour. I got a chance to confront his wife, and without going into too much detail, they disappeared almost immediately! The Sun came back into my world! I had a sub acute stroke last week, so I didn’t know if my subconscious has already set me up for an exit. Was in such a bad place for so many years, but hope not – want to enjoy my life now!❣️

        1. Jac, this is great. Way to stand up for yourself! It sounds like you are turning the corner and moving into better days.
          Take good care and I hope the healing continues. Life can be so good 💖

    1. It would be hard to answer this because there are different ways it can manifest. It can be mental but it can also manifest in the emotional realm, via personality change due to frontal lobe damage or degradation.

  14. Just an observation with a few points I remember in an article I read on generational effect of Pluto with health perspective. As a Leo Pluto Boomer myself, parents with Pluto in Cancer had to relinquish the home, family, more self care for country care in WWII and expansion of the Industrial Revolution taking families out of home. Pluto in Leo had visions of better and an almost immortal mindset. Following generations are vocal about those results more recently in relation to government and business, with good reason, imho. Medical technology increased. Pluto in Virgo increased health consciousness and talk therapy. I don’t remember much from there on.

  15. For the past three years I have been living with a former successful guitarist who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2017. He had been treated for severe back pain (arthritis, scoliosis, herniated discs) for several years and on strong pain killers. Tremors in his jaw, arms and hands made music impossible. He knew he had tremors, but was convinced it was all due to his back issues. We finally got an appointment at the Hospital for Special Surgery and saw a spinal specialist who asked my guy to walk down the hall in front of him. He immediately sent us to a Neurologist for Parkinson’s. In April of 2023 my guy underwent Deep Brain Stimulation surgery and had two electrodes implanted in his brain and a stimulator in his chest. This was a HORRIBLE surgery. Terrifying to go through. It requires two surgeries, and in the first, the patient to be awake during most of the surgery, though heavily medicated. Two weeks after the final surgery the stimulator was turned on and his tremors are gone! Completely. The first thing I noticed once we were home was that he had grown almost two inches taller. The pain and discomfort of the tremors had kept him hunched over and without them he could stand more erect.

    His back pain must still be addressed.

    If anyone is facing this, as a patient or caregiver, I can tell you the surgery “temporarily” created a very difficult short term cognitive response that was painful and exhausting for me. He couldn’t remember what medication to take, when to take medication or if he had taken medication. I woke up on day 3 after the stimulator had been turned on and every pill in our house (for me or him), from prescription to OTC was poured on our bed and he was crying because he couldn’t find his pills. It was hard but I hid every pill in the house, changing the hiding space daily. He insisted on driving, so I had both of our cars moved to a friend’s driveway two houses away, told him they were both being serviced and called an Uber if we had to go anywhere. Out of sight, out of mind.

    We are now at the 14 week post surgery mark and his memory in most areas is back to normal, He still has Parkinson’s Disease and it will cause other progressive and, in time, life threatening issues. But for now quality of life is much improved.

    I believe my natal NN at 4 degrees of Pisces in the 6th house, being activated by Saturn’s conjunction allowed me to be here for him.

  16. The flip side could be the excessive focus on control, conformity, and greed that’s been growing in our society. Decades ago eccentricity was given a wide berth. In recent years too many aging parents and grandparents have been rendered indigent and forced into subsidized institutions by callous heirs who coerce them to sign over their assets and power. How can this be prevented?

      1. Right! The challenges that make this difficult force me to respect the real limits and act slowly snd meaningfully. Astrologically this means my Saturn Mars natal conjunction in 8th House Leo must find dramatic right actions to teach those core values (8th house) for a strong legacy.
        The long term experience of traumatic assault to cognition and soul jarring is tempered by real time live and support and truth telling and listening. My indigenous values help me navigate the current currents. I turn the pain into Art and share it at a slow to medium pace; using virtual platforms sparingly.

        1. take a little bun, add a penny, add a birthday candle and set the little bun boat out to the Salish Sea. An example of your magic to others (me)and I am sure the kind of magic you have brought home to your own healing. May Sag’s and Tauruses survive and prosper.jt

  17. Bless you for this! There are a couple people in my life that fit this description. It makes sense and helps a lot.

    I also love your post about today’s child abuse. What happened to your buy Elsa a coffee option? I wanted to toss some money your way for these wonderful and insightful posts.

  18. I have sent you something Elsa: a few coffees worth. Nothing else needs doing…your blog and the people on it…even the ones l disagee with have done me the world of good.

    You are my 12th house with chiron in Aqu. worth every cent.

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