The dangers of self-diagnosing mental illness

Mental illness is something I’m quite passionate about. Not only because I deal with it myself, but also because of the devastating impact it can have on the people we know and love, which I’ve also been exposed to.

I had anorexia and bulimia in the past, and from that I developed depression and anxiety, the latter condition being one I continue to deal with today. I was formally diagnosed with all of these types of mental illnesses by professionals and experts in the field, and most people I know who have mental illness have also been diagnosed by a trained professional.

Unfortunately, I also know a few people who have diagnosed themselves with a form of mental illness, and I’ve seen the implications of this first hand.

I think it’s important to note that being conscious of our mental health is an absolutely crucial component of our overall state of being. Maintaining an awareness of any changes in our mental health is a healthy practice we can engage in. However, self-diagnosing ourselves with a condition prior to seeing a doctor about it can have consequences, and it seems as though more people are taking this unreliable route.

The problem with mental illness self-diagnoses is that we’re inaccurately labelling ourselves with something we think we might have as opposed to knowing for certain. In diagnosing ourselves, we can actually hinder our ability to receive a proper diagnosis and potentially slow our access to the right treatment. We may convince ourselves we have a certain condition when in actuality it could be something completely different, skewing our perception of our own mental health in the process.

If you suspect there’s been a shift in your mental health, see a doctor before anything else. Talk to a professional in order to best understand how to proceed and to ensure you ultimately get the help required.

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