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 because they are not detected by a blood test, brain scan or other tangible confirmation. Mental health disorders are diagnosed by symptoms and because of this, there is a great deal of room for error. Individuals may not notice certain symptoms or be able to accurately communicate them with their doctor, and missing a single symptom or detail can lead to a misdiagnosis. For example, a person may exhibit serious symptoms of depression, such as extreme sadness, the inability to feel pleasure and fatigue, but they may not notice the persistence or length that these symptoms exist. As a result, a doctor may not believe the symptoms meet the criterion for a clinical diagnosis to be made.

A major example of this sort of misdiagnosis is with bipolar disorder. This disorder is characterized by episodes of extreme highs and extreme lows, known as mania and depression. So often, individuals exhibiting symptoms of bipolar disorder will only take note of the depressive episodes, believing that their manic symptoms are just periods where they pull out of feeling low. As unfortunate as it is, many individuals are not very perceptive about their own mental state. Work, responsibilities, relationships and life keep people’s minds and energy occupied. Tracking and taking note of length and severity of symptoms is vital, as it allows individuals to more accurately communicate their concerns and physicians to make better-informed diagnoses.

Your Doctor’s Role in Diagnosis of Mental Heath Disorders

An accurate mental health diagnosis is reliant on both parties. While the patient is required to provide explicit and accurate symptoms, the doctor has to practice with diligence and an open-mind. Doctors are human and make errors even when assessing data like blood test results and MRI reports. When a doctor does not ask the right questions, listen to a patient well enough, or misinterprets a patient’s symptoms, he or she can make an incorrect diagnosis. Yes, there are some doctors in practice who are quick to write a prescription and move along, but a doctor’s misdiagnosis is generally due to the fact that doctors can have differing opinions and experiences that may shape how they interpret a patient’s symptoms and diagnosis. Even the most qualified and attentive doctors can make mistakes.

Therefore, patients also must be proactive in their health. It is important for patients to observe and communicate symptoms with their doctor. The correct time to get a second opinion is whenever a person feels obliged to. It doesn’t matter how long person has seen a doctor or how fantastic the doctor’s credentials are. If a person has doubts about a diagnosis, or would simply feel better getting a second opinion, he should.

Looking for Help Diagnosing Mental Health Symptoms?

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering with the symptoms of a mental health disorder, we can help. Our toll-free helpline is operated 24 hours a day by recovery professionals who can assist you. Recovery professionals will be happy to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide you with more information on mental health disorders. We can help find and connect you with the professionals needed to diagnosis and treat mental health disorders, so call today.