People suffering from mental illnesses shy away from seeking help fearing ridicule from their loved ones. Those who do go to a doctor to discuss their problem and get a better control of their lives may sometimes not be diagnosed correctly or get the right treatment. The steps for analyzing mental health disorders are mostly dependent on the identification of symptoms through various interviews and evaluations, although laboratory tests are done to rule out possibilities of co-occurring physical illness.
There are chances that mental illnesses are misdiagnosed; more often the clinical examination is dependent on a clinician’s subjective judgment of the symptoms based on the patient’s statement. A past study by Mayo Clinic College of Medicine shows that 26 percent to 45 percent of patients referred for depression treatment did not meet diagnostic criteria for depression. Similarly, another past research by the Michigan State University depicted that nearly one million children in America were potentially misdiagnosed with ADHD for simple reasons that these kids were the youngest and most immature in their kindergarten class.
Listed below are five most commonly misdiagnosed mental illnesses:
- ADHD: ADHD is commonly misdiagnosed when it comes to children. Often behavioral symptoms like short attention time may be characterized as ADHD. Sometimes low self-esteem and stress resulting from ADHD in adults can be misinterpreted as depression. Sometimes ADHD is also confused with conduct disorder.
- Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is less common than unipolar disorder (major depression) and it is commonly misdiagnosed with depression. The main reason is that people seek help for depression and not bipolar disorder. Misdiagnoses can be dangerous as antidepressants to cure unipolar depression can worsen the situation if people are suffering from bipolar disorder as well. In fact, restlessness and insomnia associated with bipolar disorder can be muddled up with ADHD.
- PTSD: PTSD is considered a unique mental disorder due to the importance placed on the traumatic stressor, requiring the patient to meet the criterion before he or she can be diagnosed with PTSD. However, in spite of its uniqueness, PTSD is associated with common symptoms such as anxiety, emotional numbness, risky behavior and inability to sleep that are also associated with other disorders like depression and anxiety. Also, not all people exposed to a traumatic experience develop PTSD but can suffer from other debilitating aftereffects that may be symptoms of another underlying mental illness. In this regard, a doctor who does not have any experience of treating PTSD might misdiagnose the symptoms for some other common disorder.
- Depression: Depressive symptoms such as feelings of sadness and anxiety, sense of hopelessness, anger and irritability can be taken as anxiety or normal response to stressful situations. Such behaviors are commonly experienced by everyone at certain stage of their lives and can often go unnoticed. Depression can also be misdiagnosed as anxiety disorder.
- Anxiety Disorder: Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States but the common symptoms of anxiety disorder can be dismissed as normal response to stressful situations. People themselves do not realize that their excessive worry or fear of something might be a sign of a mental health problem. Anxiety disorders can also be misdiagnosed as depression due to common symptoms of disturbances in sleep and lack of concentration.
It is important for doctors and nursing staff to do a thorough clinical evaluation to spot differences between similar looking mental disorders. Patients need to find the best services in treating mental illnesses based on research and suggestions of experienced people. Not getting proper treatment can worsen the case and diminish chances of recovery.
Mental disorders are treatable with timely intervention
Mental health illnesses remain one of the biggest concerns in the country and majority of the population have at some time experienced symptoms of some sort of a mental problem. Yet, the affected individuals continue to avoid the much-needed treatment for the fear of stigma associated with the disorders. However, mental disorders are treatable through treatment programs administered by trained medical professionals.
If your or your loved one is showing signs of a mental health problem, the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline can assist in connecting you to the best options in mental health disorders treatment in Texas. You can call us on our 24/7 helpline number (866) 596-4708 or chat online to know one of the best mental health treatment centers in Texas.