While we often like to think of ourselves as experts on ourselves, when it comes to mental health, trying to self-diagnosis can commonly lead to inaccurate treatment. The convenience of the internet search may often mislead us; given that every symptom search will lead us to some type of prognosis. It’s easy to diagnose yourself, but the likelihood that it will be accurate is not probable.
Diagnosis is complicated and multi-layered. There are a number of subtleties a mental health care professional will consider when it comes to diagnosis. When we self-diagnosis, we might look at a particular symptom as a factor of our condition, but the reality is that a symptom can have many underlying reasons that we may not have considered. A clinician can discern how each specific symptom plays a role and can make the appropriate diagnosis.
Often times medical diseases can impersonate psychological syndromes. A self-diagnosis might lead us to believe we have a psychiatric disease, when the reality may be that the symptoms were related to an undetected medical condition. Symptoms related to hyperthyroidism, migraines, drug withdrawal, or an irregular heartbeat can appear psychological. Even more worrisome are more serious medical conditions like a brain tumor that can be the cause of symptoms. It’s best to seek a professional for a trusted diagnosis.
Self-diagnosis most commonly leads to underdiagnosis or overdiagnosis–both of which are dangerous. Examining ourselves is tough to do objectively, we often overlook things that we simply cannot see. The anxiety or depression we may be experiencing could be masking other disorders that are dangerous to ignore.
On the other hand, self-diagnosis may lead us to believe we are demonstrating symptoms of a disorder. We might think we have ADD, depression, or a sleep disorder that we aim to treat, when the symptoms may actually be related to something entirely different. Either way, self-diagnosis can add unnecessary stress that only adds to the situation.
A healthcare professional is well studied in the field of mental disorders and they are there to support you and give you the help you need. The doctor-patient relationship is one you and your doctor should feel comfortable with. While many doctors may be interested in hearing your thoughts and will respect your opinion, it’s important to keep in mind that they have the experience to carry out a proper diagnosis.
It is important that you feel you can trust your doctor. If you feel that this is not the case, please seek a professional that you feel you can have a rapport with.
Neuropsychological, psychological and educational evaluations are commonly administered by professionals as a means to achieve accurate diagnosis–this can not be self-duplicated. Your health is most likely of great value to you, and self-diagnosis can lead to negative repercussions. The treatment you desire can be achieved under the guidance of a professional in a way that works for you when you have caring and thoughtful healthcare professionals on your side.