The Dangers of Self-Diagnosing a Mental Illness

woman talking to a friend on the couch about her mental health

There’s a lot of information available online about mental illness in the world today. While increased awareness and access to information are vital resources for people with mental illnesses, it can be tempting to research and self-diagnose if we suspect we or someone we know may have a mental illness. But there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t do this.

First, it’s important to remember that not all mental illnesses are identical. There are many different types of mental illness, and each has its symptoms, some of which may sometimes overlap or be caused by other disorders. So if you’re self-diagnosing, you might not be getting the whole picture.

Self-diagnosing can be risky. Seeing a professional for a proper diagnosis is crucial if you think you may have a mental illness. They can rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, perform appropriate testing, and ensure you get the proper treatment.

Additionally, self-diagnosing can be damaging to your mental health. If you think you have a mental illness but decide not to seek professional help, you might start to believe something is wrong with you and undertake risky or unhelpful efforts at self-medicating. This can lead to feelings of shame, isolation, and worthlessness. So even if you’re unsure if you have a mental illness, it’s important to talk to a professional if you have any symptoms.

If you think you might have a mental illness, the best thing to do is to see a mental health professional. They can give you a proper diagnosis and help you get the treatment you need.

How Self-Diagnosis Can Create Problems

Self-diagnosing mental illnesses can be incredibly dangerous. Without a proper professional diagnosis, you’re likely incorrectly diagnosing yourself, which could lead to attempts to procure medications that aren’t helpful or trying treatment strategies that cause more harm than good. This could lead to your condition worsening or becoming more difficult to treat. Additionally, self-diagnosing can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression, increasing the risk of self-harm, suicide, and other dangerous behaviors.

The self-diagnosis process can also cause you and those close to you stress and anxiety. Worrying that you have a mental illness when you may not can be incredibly distressing for you and your loved ones. The fear that you will be diagnosed with a mental illness if you seek treatment and have your suspicions confirmed can lead to people avoiding the medical care they need.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Treatment

If you think you have a mental illness, it is crucial to seek professional help from a licensed mental health professional. Doing so will allow you to get an accurate diagnosis and receive the best treatment possible. There are several reasons why getting professional help is so important.

One reason is that not all mental illnesses are diagnosed by their symptoms alone. For example, there are forms of depression that don’t fit the typical stereotypes of someone who looks or feels sad and doesn’t want to do anything. Additionally, mental illnesses often come with other problems like addiction and abuse. Physical or medical conditions can cause them, and these problems worsen with time when they go untreated.

Some mental illnesses can even be life-threatening, so getting professional help is particularly imperative. For example, suppose you have a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. In that case, it is essential to seek professional help to get a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, including medication and therapy that trained professionals must administer. Without the appropriate treatment, psychotic disorders can lead to suicide or even homicide.

How Life Adjustment Team Can Help 

Professional treatment for mental illness can make a world of difference for people suffering from these conditions. With the help of a therapist, people with mental illness can learn to manage their symptoms, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and improve their overall quality of life. Sometimes, therapy can even help people with mental illness recover completely. For many people, professional treatment is the first step on the road to recovery. It can give them the support and guidance they need to start making positive changes. Without professional treatment, many people with mental illness would never get the help they need to improve their lives. Contact LAT today to learn more about our treatment plans. 

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