This is your daily reminder that being pro self-diagnosis is dangerous and ableist B)
63 % of people who self diagnose believe that the Internet gave them the correct diagnosis, they believe they were able to properly able to diagnose themselves. And only about half of those people take their findings to their doctor only to not believe them because it was not what they found on the Internet. (X) (2 links)
Unless you have went through the same amount of rigorous training that physicians do, you are probably not going to be able to fully interpret your medical problems
And if you find that you have turned to self treatment, contact an addiction specialist/ doctor that can help you on the path to recovery (x) (x)
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- MENTAL ILLNESSES ARE MORE THAN JUST A LIST OF SYMPTOMS - Mental illnesses are serious conditions that manifest in many more ways than just some external symptoms. They affect how you view the world, your physical brain chemistry, how you are affected by different variables, how you deal with your problems, and how you behave (or will not behave) in a given situation.
- MENTAL ILLNESSES HAVE OVERLAP OF SYMPTOMS - if you are not a trained professional, it is very easy to assume you have one condition or disorder, when it may be something else entirely, something you may not have heard of.
- IT MAY BE MORE THAN ONE CONDITION - if you have a mental illness, you rarely have just one. Misery loves company, and it’s very common to have two or more related disorders. It’s also common to have a specific condition, but tendencies of another.
- ONLINE QUIZZES AND TESTS ARE UNRELIABLE - because mental illnesses are complex, there is no one objectively correct test you can take to pinpoint what illness(es) you have. There is also no online quiz to observe your behavior and recognize behavioral patterns, or to tell you if you have more than one illness.
- PROFESSIONALS ARE PROFESSIONALS FOR A REASON - unless you have a degree in psychology/psychiatry/mental health counseling, you do not have the same level of knowledge of the human mind and of mental disorders that a professional has. They study for years and years to be able to identify and treat mental illnesses. They don’t just memorize a list of illnesses and their symptoms. They learn how the mind works, the chemistry behind it, and how disordered thinking works to determine what the issue is.
- YOU CANNOT EXAMINE YOURSELF AND YOUR BEHAVIOR TO THE SAME DEGREE A PROFESSIONAL CAN - if you do enough therapy you’ll hopefully learn to be more self-aware of your actions and thoughts, and try to think about your problems and behavior logically. But a professional will be able to look at your situation objectively: they will look at behavioral patterns, family health history, your reactions to stress, AND any symptoms you display before making a decision.
- UNLESS YOU ARE TRAINED TO, YOU DON’T KNOW THE VARIOUS TREATMENT OPTIONS AND HOW TO PERFORM THEM - I’m talking beyond the obvious, like medications. There is more than one kind of therapy and treatment, and if you’re not educated in the field, you won’t be able to determine which will be best for you. Professionals have an objective perspective, but they also have an understanding of how a mental illness works, the theory/history behind various kinds of treatment, and how to change treatment if necessary based on your response to it.
- SELF DIAGNOSIS TRIVIALIZES MENTAL ILLNESS - there are still many, many people out there who don’t think mental illnesses are real, or that people who suffer from them just need to “get over it.” People taking an online quiz or reading a Wikipedia article to reach a diagnosis de-legitimatizes the severity of the condition. Giving the impression that a mental illness diagnosis is something that can be reached without a doctor gives off the impression that it’s not something serious, and some people will take it as validation that mental illnesses are just made up.
- SELF DIAGNOSIS ULTIMATELY ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING - that’s right, I said nothing. Say for argument’s sake that you successfully diagnose yourself. Now what? You’re not licensed to administer medication, and you cannot perform therapy on yourself. So what’s the point? The fact that you proudly say so on your blog and make excuses for not wanting to do things? How does that help? Which brings me to my next point:
- MENTAL ILLNESSES ARE MEDICAL CONDITIONS - they are NOT fashion statements or convenient labels. They must be treated the same way as a physical illness would be because they are every bit as serious. You aren’t doing the mental health community any favors when you claim to know this shit all by yourself.
- THE RESOURCES ARE OUT THERE - There are many, many free/low-cost resources out there for mental health, if money is an issue (most schools now have a counselor or psychologist on staff, ffs). Here is a small list for you if you live in the US:
There is a huge difference between self-diagnosing a simple cold and self-diagnosing autism. (On that note, there are times when someone can even self-diagnose a cold wrong.)
What most of these people don’t understand is we aren’t against people saying, ‘I think it’s possible I could have (insert diagnosis here), perhaps I should go get it checked out.’ We are against, ‘Oh. I have autism.’ And that’s that. Nothing further, and suddenly they are speaking for autistic people despite not having it confirmed, and quite possibly ignoring a bigger issue.
There are several problems with self-diagnosing.
Firstly, anyone researching symptoms of something like autism for example could read them and suddenly develop those symptoms, or perceive themselves as having them because they want to fit into the diagnosis. This can be done subconsciously. This brings up the issue of people only researching the one disorder they want to have, for whatever reason that may be.
Secondly, it is possible that when you self-diagnose, you are dismissing the possibility of a more serious diagnosis. Brain tumors can cause changes in behaviour as well as an abundance of symptoms that one could mistake for a mental disorder.
Thirdly, I know there are some bad doctors out there, but for the most part they know what they are doing. Yes, you may understand your body better and know what you are experiencing. However, generally, the doctor will have the knowledge to be aware of other conditions you may not have come across in your research.
Another point is the usage of self diagnosing seems to spread the idea that one does not need to go to a doctor or specialist. Since they have figured the problem out themselves, they don’t see the point.
Self-diagnosing can be harmful to you if you don’t take your suspicions to a specialist. And if you are self-diagnosing to be trendy or cute (which I know is not always the case), you are dismissing the struggles of those with the disorder.
Please, by all means, do research to bring some ideas to your doctor. But do not self-diagnose and leave it at that.
Here’s a good article.
So a fad among people my age and younger (and sometimes older) is to self-diagnose themselves. And very often you can visit these blog pages and see ten different self diagnosed illnesses. Now why do people do this? Well it could very much be Munchhausen Syndrome. Or maybe a desire to fit into an online community and enhance aspects of your identity.
But let’s dig deeper here.
Most psychologists and people involved in the field discerning mental illness disagree and discourage self diagnosis.
If you read the links explaining how easy it is to find a place that can give you a diagnosis, and if not a diagnosis then mental help, then you clearly do not have the illness you presume to have. Anybody with a serious mental illness would do anything in their power to help cope with it or get help in treating it. Nobody would ignore the obvious fact that, at least in the United States, you can get many levels of mental health care without seeing a private therapist. Private therapists are only a fraction of the field they partake in.
Self-diagnosis is bullshit. Most people who are involved professionally in the field of mental health and neuroscience disagree with mental illness, and it is not difficult to get some level of help for your mental issues.
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