Hold Off on the Googling

self_diagnosis
photo source: http://www.twistedpeel.com/images/cartoon/self_diagnosis.png

First, I love that “googling” is now a word.

Second, I wanted to spend some time talking about the dangers of googling what appear to be (your) mental health symptoms, for the purpose of diagnosing yourself. Please: just. don’t. do. it. It’s hard to say what the internet will show you in your search results, and you may have labeled yourself with something that you truly do not have.

There have been many times where new patients have come in to me and said, “I have _____.” And I ask, “Oh, have you been diagnosed by a doctor before?” Then, “No, I just looked it up online.” This is problematic for several reasons. Psychology Today’s article, which I am linking here, details the dangers of this. A symptom you think is related to mental health could really be a medical problem (vitamin deficiency, irregular heartbeat, hypothyroidism, etc.).

Every few years, there seems to be a “hot” diagnosis on the market. For many years, all kids “had” AD/HD. Then, if you’ve ever had a mood swing, you might have (self-)diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

You want to be sure to tell the doctor/therapist/nurse practitioner all of your symptoms, so they can make a proper diagnosis for the best course of treatment for you. And, be aware that a diagnosis guides treatment and procures payment from insurance, but it does not define you.

 

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