Diagnosing mental illness is difficult. There are no blood tests for depression; no urine tests for panic attacks; no cheek swabs for schizophrenia. And sadly, online questionnaires aren’t accurate diagnostic tools either.
I recently got to be a part of an article over at Psych Central about conditions and illnesses that mimic mental health disorders. It’s an interesting topic because at its core, it means that we – as health care providers – need to be extremely careful and thorough when making diagnoses. Here’s a quote from the article:
Having the correct diagnosis is vital. It leads to a more precise, effective treatment plan…If we don’t know what we’re dealing with at the beginning of treatment, our interventions can be like shooting arrows in the dark; not very accurate and possibly dangerous.
Another point is:
Depression is a condition almost everyone is familiar with, so it can easily become a catch-all phrase or diagnosis. But there are literally hundreds of other mental health disorders, one of which may better capture the symptoms you are experiencing.