Self-diagnosis is the process of diagnosing or identifying, medical conditions in oneself. It may be supported by medical dictionaries, books, resources on the Internet, past personal experiences, or recognizing symptoms or medical signs of a condition that a family member previously had. It is a very common practice because of readily available resources.
How many times have you googled symptoms and convinced yourself that you have some kind of illness?
Self-diagnosing mental illness could be a dangerous practice. It is common to misunderstand your moments of sadness for depression or nervousness for anxiety.
Due to a lack of awareness, people are less informed of mental disorders. Feeling low isn’t categorized as a disorder, it is one when it disrupts and makes you dysfunctional in day-to-day activities.
Another concern with self-diagnosing mental disorders is that you may confuse a medical condition presuming it to be a psychological concern. You may mistakenly understand an irregular heartbeat or shooting blood pressure as a panic attack.
As an individual with no background in treating disorders, the subtleties of mental disorders don’t resonate with you. Self-diagnosis undermines the role of professionals.
Internet searches can lead to right answers, and on bad days, it could also force you to think in the other direction. It could also create a lot of anxiety or what is less commonly known by people – cyberchondria.
Proceed cautiously when self-diagnosing, it may further worsen the situation. Not having any kind of prior knowledge about the subject could hamper your mental health further.
Constantly trying to prove to yourself that you have a problem whereas you do not, can be a horrifying experience eventually. The desperation to tally your behavior with the symptoms or signs mentioned online can create a lot of stress for you. You may strongly start believing in all that you read. While some signs may be true to your situation, it may not be able to take place of a substantial, fact-based report from a licensed expert.
One may also be convinced to consume medicines. The need to take charge of your mental health can push you into purchasing medicines through unfair means. Self-medication is a major problem when someone does self-diagnoses. It may lead to trivializing the mental illness or magnifying it, both of which can be dangerous. Psychiatric medication could also have side effects. Each medicine is prescribed based on individual cases. Hence, to follow somebody else’s medicinal recommendation could mean risking your life.
Apart from medication, the psychiatric treatment also involves therapeutic intervention by a trained psychologist or psychiatrist.
Going to see a mental health professional in a society where there is stigma around the same can be difficult. However, it is important to leave the diagnosis up to the specialist. Take someone you trust along with you and seek the right intervention.
Yashika is pursuing Bachelors in Applied Psychology from University of Delhi. She is passionate about her subject and shows great interest in educating young students.