As the internet becomes easily accessible for everyone, you may assume that you have certain mental illnesses based on the symptoms provided on the internet. However, having a diagnosis is more than a checklist of symptoms that you read. A number of assessments are needed to be conducted by professionals for you to receive the right treatment.
Therefore, self-diagnosis is dangerous, and here are some of the reasons why:
One symptom of mental illness may overlap with other types of mental illnesses, which makes it tricky to get an accurate diagnosis. The worst scenario is that you would subconsciously believe the ‘diagnosis’ given on the internet and choose not to consult the professionals.
- Causes emotional distress:
Self-diagnosis may cause unnecessary emotional distress that may lead to other forms of mental disturbances, such as feeling depressed or having anxiety.
- Wrong treatment:
Self-diagnosis can be dangerous as it may lead you to conduct self-treatment instead of going to professionals.
- Inaccurate information:
Anyone can post information online even if they are not experts in that field. You should always be careful about the things that you read online.
- Overlook the real problem:
When you keep focusing on the symptoms without consultation, you would not have the space to find information about the real diagnosis. You may miss the more accurate views about your symptoms or the actual problems that you are facing regarding your health.
To prevent these from happening, receiving help from a professional is always the best option.
Firstly, be aware of when or how your symptoms started along with your feelings, thoughts, and behavior patterns that changed. Secondly, know that professional help is available, and you can always reach out to them. Lastly, getting a diagnosis is not as simple as ticking a checklist; it involves a series of standardized and structured assessments (e.g. observation, interview, or psychological tests) by mental health professionals. Taking the time and efforts in getting the right diagnosis and treatments is a long journey, but it is always worth it.
Written by: Hania Kazmi (Panel Expert)