The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m so OCD,” when they really mean they’re picky about something? Self-diagnosing mental health conditions might be tempting, especially when used as a shortcut for behavioral quirks—but it can also do far more harm than good. There’s no substitute for time with a qualified doctor and mental health professional. Read on to understand more about the dangers of self-diagnosis in Havre, MT.

Why do people diagnose themselves?

Making appointments with doctors and mental health professionals can be expensive, especially if you don’t have health insurance. Google, on the other hand, is free. When you’re suffering from an ailment and want to find answers, it’s easy to search for your symptoms. You might find anything from breathing exercises to health supplements that might benefit certain conditions—but unless you truly know what you’re dealing with, these may not be effective. In some cases, they could even be dangerous. Whenever possible, you should let a doctor and mental health professional diagnose you.

Self-diagnosis can be dangerous

The problem with diagnosing yourself is that you’re probably not a doctor or a mental health professional. That means you lack the education, experience and general knowledge of certain conditions—as well as their subtle differences and how they relate to other mental or physical ailments. For example, many people think they’re having a heart attack during their first panic attack. If you realize it’s just a panic attack, you might be content with that diagnosis—and fail to realize that you have an irregular heartbeat, hyperthyroidism or other conditions that affect your overall health. There’s no substitute for expertise.

Another drawback of self-diagnosis: it undermines your relationship with your doctor in Havre, MT. Ideally, you should trust your doctor’s experience and education. You should feel comfortable asking questions and pushing back if you think the doctor is barking up the wrong tree. If you don’t, it may be time to find a doctor you do trust. Doctors sometimes see us more clearly than we’re able to see ourselves—sometimes we get so caught up in what we think is wrong that we fail to see what a doctor or mental health professional can see clearly from the outside.

That’s why people often think there’s more wrong with them than there actually is. For example, depression can manifest in digestive issues, sleep problems, body aches and other physical issues. You might decide you have IBS, a sleep disorder and pulled muscles when really, it all stems from major depression. On the other hand, people who suffer from delusions or Cluster B personality disorders often fail to report issues to their doctor or therapist because they don’t believe anything is wrong. A good doctor and mental health professional will be able to tell you when you’re on the right track, when there’s cause for concern and when you should explore other potential diagnoses.

Now that you know why you shouldn’t self-diagnose in Havre, MT, contact Ellen Savage, LCPC today to schedule your first counseling appointment.