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Self-Diagnosis from a Psychologist's Perspective

By HERWriter
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Patients who self-diagnose can both hinder and help themselves.

For example, patients can help themselves when they acknowledge they have a problem and decide to see a psychologist. Patients who educate themselves on a disorder they might have can also help themselves to some extent, as long as they don’t also become narrow-minded.

A limited viewpoint and inability or unwillingness to collaborate with a psychologist or any other mental health professional or doctor are the worst scenarios when it comes to self-diagnosis.

Every psychologist will probably deal with at least one case of self-diagnosis, though the level can differ.

Larry Kubiak, a psychologist at Tallahassee Memorial Behavioral Health Center, said there has been a change in self-diagnosis over the years with an increase in resources like the Internet and more books. Patients who self-diagnosis are actually a common occurrence now.

“It used to be that you’d go to the doctor and the doctor was the all-powerful, all-knowing individual, and there wasn’t a lot of access to the common man in terms of diagnoses,” Kubiak said.

Using the Internet and books, patients can research their symptoms and even take pre-tests.

“On the one hand, it’s good that patients are more educated about what’s going on or taking more of a collaborative role in that process,” Kubiak said.

He said the major problem is when patients look at a few symptoms using unreliable resources and tests that aren’t generally credible and go to a physician or psychologist saying they have a certain problem and ask for medication when they don’t actually have that problem.

“Those symptoms could be common to a lot of other disorders as well,” Kubiak said. “In the mental health field, there are some symptoms that can cut across a lot of different potential diagnoses.”

Therefore, patients need to realize that a more thorough evaluation is necessary, including gathering history from the patient.

“Sometimes a person has something else going on, or there may be some comorbidity,” Kubiak said.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.