Why Self Diagnosis Isn’t the Answer

Alex Van Duyne, Staff Writer

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Self diagnosis; not the way to go.

In most cases, I believe you shouldn’t self diagnose yourself with mental illness.

Don’t come at me yet, because there’s a multitude of reasons why people may feel like they have to look up their symptoms or how they’re feeling and research it. Self diagnosis, if you don’t know, is when someone claims and feels they have a certain medical condition and diagnosis, or identifies themselves with it by themselves.

People that want to go far enough to do an unprofessional diagnosis may feel like they must diagnose themselves with a mental illness because they want to identify with said illness. With social media and more people being exposed to others with mental illness, talking about it has become more accepted. Personally, I have no idea why someone would want a mental illness, unless they just want the attention or for the “aesthetic.”

According to a study conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, 1 in 3 Americans have gone online to figure out a mental condition they or someone they know may have. Even though many are doing it, and many (46%) were approved as having the illness they had, I still do not agree that it’s the best option.

The main issue of self diagnosis is you may diagnosis yourself with the wrong illness, or an illness you don’t have whatsoever. If someone’s on the Internet researching symptoms for an anxiety disorder, and describes themselves as “anxious”, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have anxiety. You can be anxious but not have anxiety, and you can feel depressed without having depression.

If someone self diagnoses themselves, they may decide to find treatment for their illness. However, this treatment may not be right and they may be completely unaware of it. Not getting the right treatment usually will result in more problems, and not destroying or healing the roots of the original illness.

On August 23 of 2017, Google partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to create a self-assessment test that enables US users to see if they should seek help for depression.

However, Google and the NAMI had stressed that the tool should not be used as a diagnosis.

Simon Gilbody, a psychological medicine professor at the University of York, recently voiced his concerns in the British Medical Journal, saying that “false positive rates” from Google’s test were “high.”

Basically, the idea of looking up your symptoms and not getting it checked out, then self diagnosing yourself can be way less accurate than consulting a therapist or doctor.

The counter argument is that many people may not have access to quality, professional healthcare or therapy. Many people in the world may not have access to transportation, or just not have the money for good healthcare.

To take issues a step further, some doctors may even refuse to help someone because of their identity (i.e. a transgender or intersex person).

Even people who are trained and are certified to diagnosis someone can misdiagnosis as well, but it’s much less common compared to people self diagnosing themselves.

Sadly, I can’t simply give everyone free and quality healthcare, as much as I’d want to. To solve more local issues, regarding teeangers finding the only possible solution for a mental illness they might have, implementing better therapy from the school or in other places in the community could be a solution. Teenagers would have a better chance to talk to someone about what they’re going through.

If you’re feeling like you have a mental illness, want help, or just want to talk to someone, please consider visiting a local clinic, or calling one of the following hotlines:

National Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): 1 (240) 485-1001       

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): 1-800-826-3632

1 Comment

One Response to “Why Self Diagnosis Isn’t the Answer”

  1. hi on February 28th, 2018 11:11 am

    Great article I agree

    [Reply]

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