BE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT MENTAL-HEALTH DIAGNOSIS
Be sure you have the right mental-health diagnosis and get the treatment you need and deserve! The right mental-health diagnosis may be hard to come by.
DSM 5 DIAGNOSES
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) contains all the criteria used to make mental-health diagnoses. Experts shared information and created this manual over a 10-year period. As medical information changes over time and with new research, many revisions have been made. Mental illnesses symptoms are not always physically seen and sometimes this leaves room for interpretation and mistakes happen.
An incorrect diagnosis may not get you all of the treatments you need. My diagnoses of depression and anxiety were correct and only recently did a councillor suggest I may have PTSD. This made a huge difference in treatment. My treatment for depression and anxiety did not include the treatments necessary to improve my PTSD.
Bipolar disorder has a misdiagnosis rate of 69 percent. ADHD and substance abuse disorder have been misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder. Treatment for ADHD often includes the use of stimulants and substance abuse disorder has a specific set of treatments. Sometimes, this includes inpatient care. You can read The Dangers of Bipolar Disorder Misdiagnosed as Depression, published online at bridgestorecovery.com.
The MOST misdiagnosed mental illness is Borderline Personality Disorder. Many with BPD do not even know they have it. Substance abuse, domestic violence, impulse control, self harm and suicidal behaviour can result. A study of American veterans discovered that 94% suffered from BPD that had not been diagnosed. LIVES ARE AT RISK with incorrect diagnoses.
The psychological disorder with the highest DEATH RATE is anorexia nervosa. This can lead to malnutrition, organ shutdown and death. Often incorrectly diagnosed as physical disorders in the bowel or as celiac disease, treatment is delayed or incorrect. Patients with anorexia need a team approach, with doctors, dietitians and therapists working together towards recovery.
MISTAKEN OR MISSED SCHIZOPHRENIA
People with brief delusions or psychotic episodes resulting from medications have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. People with schizoid personality disorder have as well. Imagine suffering symptoms of delusions, unaware of reality and unable to stick up for yourself. The opposite happens too. You could have schizophrenia that has not been correctly defined.
Johns Hopikins Medicine printed a study in 2019 that concluded this …
“In a small study of patients, researchers report that about half the people referred to the clinic with a schizophrenia diagnosis didn’t actually have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling disorder marked by disordered thinking, feelings and behaviour. People who reported hearing voices or having anxiety were the ones more likely to be misdiagnosed.”
- Confusion – misdiagnosis will cause confusion for the patient.
- Incorrect medication and their side effects.
- Incorrect or missed therapies.
- Worsening of your symptoms and condition.
- the possibility of life-ending suffering.
ADVOCATE FOR THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS
Sometimes, getting the right mental-health diagnosis is tough at best. If your medication is not helping, be sure to reach out. Side effects taking to long to clear, REACH OUT. If you are not happy with the treatment offered by your doctor, REACH OUT. You CAN ASK FOR A 2nd OPINION. My PCP was the first to prescribe antidepressants and anxiety meds. I did not see a psychiatrist for the first 20 YEARS of my journey!! ASK for the opinion of a specialist.
Medication and therapy are needed for complete mental health care. There are many different therapy types. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and/or group therapy may help. A social worker has helped me. CPT (cognitive processing therapy) and EMDR are helpful for PTSD. Ask for THE RIGHT THERAPY FOR THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS!
WHAT IF I AM UNABLE?
This is a scary situation. Do you have family or a friend who can help you? In Ontario we have the Psychiatric Patient Advocacy Office. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a voluntary group that promotes mental health and helps patients with education. They promote awareness, research, advocacy, and help with getting services. The CMHA helped me on my way to the correct treatment and obtaining the right diagnoses.
Mental illness brings stigma, negative opinions and at times, poor treatment and IT IS CRUCIAL THAT YOU HAVE THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS. Your primary care provider can help you. If not, can you, from somewhere deep within, find a way to ask for what you deserve? If you cannot, can someone or a group nearby help you?