Should I Get a Second Opinion on My Mental Health Diagnosis?

Getting a second opinion on a mental health diagnosis is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Mental health disorders are tough to diagnose; they are ambiguous and cannot be detected by a blood test, brain scan or other objective standard. Because of this problem, mental health disorders are diagnosed by symptoms, which leaves great room for error. In fact, people may not notice certain symptoms or communicate them to their doctors, and missing a single symptom can lead to a misdiagnosis. For example, someone may exhibit serious symptoms of depression, such as extreme sadness, the inability to feel pleasure and fatigue, but they may not notice how long these symptoms exist. As a result, doctors may not believe the symptoms meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis.

Bipolar disorder is commonly misdiagnosed. This disorder is characterized by episodes of extreme highs and lows, called mania and depression. Many people exhibit symptoms of bipolar disorder, but they only notice the depressive episodes, because they believe their manic symptoms are times when they pull out of feeling low. Furthermore, many people overlook their health problems. Work, responsibilities, relationships and life keep preoccupy people’s minds and energy, so a key to identifying your health problem is to be more observant and perceptive about your health. Track and note your symptoms, along with when they start and stop. If you communicate your concerns more efficiently, then your physician can make an informed diagnosis, but you must be thorough and precise when describing your symptoms.

How Doctors Diagnose Mental Heath Disorders

A mental health diagnosis relies on equal parties: patients must provide accurate symptoms, and doctors must practice with diligence and open minds. Doctors make errors, even when they have results like blood tests and MRI reports, so, when a doctor asks the wrong questions, ignores a patient or interprets a patient’s symptoms incorrectly, then she can make an inaccurate diagnosis. Yes, some doctors are quick to write prescriptions and move along, but a doctor’s misdiagnosis is generally due to differing opinions and experiences that shape how she interprets symptoms. Even qualified doctors with excellent bedside manner can make mistakes.

This fact means you must be proactive in your health. Recognize how vital it is to be in-touch with your body and start doing so. The correct time to get a second opinion is whenever you want to; it does not matter how long you have seen a doctor or how fantastic a doctor’s credentials are. If your doctor questions you about your diagnosis, or if you would feel better with a second opinion, then seek another doctor. There is no reason to feel silly about getting a second opinion to see if another qualified professional is in agreement.

Help Diagnosing Mental Health Symptoms

If you are concerned that you or a loved one suffers with the symptoms of a mental health disorder, we can help. Our admissions coordinators operate a toll-free, 24 hour helpline to answer your questions, address your concerns and to provide all the information you need to treat a mental health disorder. They can connect you with professional help, so call now to begin treatment as soon as possible.

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