The Dangers of a Misdiagnosed Mental Illness


When we visit medical professionals for treatment, we place our complete trust in them to discover any issues we may have and find the best solutions possible; however, receiving a mental health misdiagnosis – where the diagnosis is incorrect or the medical professional is unable to identify the disorder – happens more often than you think.


When we visit medical professionals for treatment, we place our complete trust in them to discover any issues we may have and find the best solutions possible; however, receiving a mental health misdiagnosis – where the diagnosis is incorrect or the medical professional is unable to identify the disorder – happens more often than you think. Certain mental illnesses aren’t easy to identify. These disorders can be complex, so it’s crucial that a person receives an accurate mental health diagnosis. As a facility for mental health care in Boca Raton, we understand the dangers of a misdiagnosed mental disorder. A misdiagnosed mental illness can cause a variety of problems for both the individual and their loved ones.


Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Mental Illnesses


Misdiagnosis can happen with any condition. Several mental disorders are more commonly misdiagnosed for a variety of reasons:


  • Major depressive disorder (depression)

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Schizophrenia

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)



At Banyan Mental Health, we perform mental health primary diagnoses to identify whether an individual has a mental disorder. Our team is made up of the most qualified individuals who are professionals in their fields of expertise. If a disorder is identified, we will then create a treatment plan for the patient that involves comprehensive care at our mental health facility in Boca Raton.


What Are the Dangers of a Misdiagnosed Mental Disorder?


A mental health diagnosis is the first step to finding treatment for the individual. Without an accurate diagnosis, the person may receive treatment that might be unhelpful or they may fail to receive mental health treatment at all, which is much worse. The effects of a misdiagnosed mental disorder can be devastating for both the individual and their loved ones.


Emotional Distress


A misdiagnosed mental illness can be very confusing for patients. They begin to worry or become emotionally distressed when they see that treatment isn’t working. This could cause them to see their lack of progress as a failure. They may even develop feelings of guilt or shame because they feel as if they’ve failed themselves and their loved ones. This can disrupt communication between the health care provider and the patient as well as cause other relationship problems with their families. This could eventually discourage them from seeking the appropriate treatment when the mistake is identified.


At our mental health program, not only do we identify primary diagnoses of mental disorders, but we also utilize various forms of mental health treatment methods that address disorders including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, among others.


Wrong Medication


Another danger of a misdiagnosed mental disorder is prescribing the wrong kind of medication to a patient. Being prescribed medication for a mental illness that you don’t have can cause various negative side effects. For example, while Adderall may be beneficial to individuals who have ADHD, it can cause memory impairment, cognitive impairment, and even addiction in people who don’t have ADHD. Taking medications for a disorder you don’t have can also cause other side effects that lead to additional stress and anxiety, worsening the individual’s condition.


Worsening Condition


When a mental disorder is misdiagnosed or the individual’s disorder is not recognized, their condition is likely to worsen. Most medications require a certain length of time to take effect. A patient who has been misdiagnosed may be waiting to see improvements while, in reality, their condition is actually getting worse. This can be extremely distressing for the person and their loved ones and could increase the individual's risk of turning to substance abuse and suicide. Many individuals who are misdiagnosed with a mental disorder or are living with an unidentified mental illness turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with the distress. When addiction and mental illness occur simultaneously, it’s referred to as a co-occurring disorder.


How to Prevent Misdiagnosis


Although there’s no way to guarantee that a clinician will not misdiagnose or fail to realize a person’s mental illness, there are ways to mitigate these risks.


  • Be honest about your symptoms: Many people feel embarrassed and ashamed about their mental health struggles, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. One of the best ways to avoid misdiagnosis is to be completely honest about your symptoms. Providing as much information as possible helps health care providers identify your disorder and mitigates the risk of misdiagnosis.

  • Record your symptoms, thoughts, and feelings: A great way to help your clinician or health care provider properly identify whether you have a mental illness is by recording your symptoms. Putting your feelings and symptoms on paper can help a clinician better identify any red flags and signs of mental illness.

  • Go to a specialist: There are specialists for every age range, and seeing one that treats patients in your age range increases your chances of receiving an accurate diagnosis. You should also get several opinions before deciding how you want to move forward in treatment.


Appeared originally on www.banyanmentalhealth.com

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