Getting the right therapy treatment often starts with getting the right diagnosis. Even though symptomology can be a lot more subtle and difficult to pin down, getting a wrong mental health diagnosis can be like getting the wrong medical diagnosis. The wrong diagnosis can lead to the wrong treatment which either won’t help at all or could make things worse. Here is a short list of mental health disorders that I often see people try to diagnosis either in themselves or their children but often do so incorrectly.
- Bipolar disorder – Bipolar is a fairly common mental health diagnosis but is frequently mislabeled or incorrectly self-diagnosed. A lot of people assume that just because they or their child is moody, it probably means they are bipolar. While people who are bipolar can definitely be moody, people who are moody are not always bipolar. Sometimes people are just moody but there is usually a reason for the moodiness that can be rooted in a problem or unresolved issue.
- OCD – OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is almost never accurately identified or self-diagnosed. I have had a lot of clients tell me that they have OCD when they don’t qualify or meet the criteria for true blue OCD. Having things clean or organized or being uptight about cleanliness is not necessarily OCD. Sometimes cleanliness is just cleanliness or someone who is prone to achieve some kind of perfection.
- Narcissism – In therapy and psychology, narcissism is only diagnosed when it pertains to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is a serious mental health disorder that is extremely difficult to effectively treat. I frequently encounter the term narcissism being placed in circumstances where a person is acting confident, arrogant, has high self-esteem or expresses genuine pride for certain accomplishments. People who have true blue NPD are highly toxic and often abusive. They are very difficult to deal with.
- Multiple Personality Disorder – Multiple Personality Disorder was changed, years ago, to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). DID is actually very rare and only surfaces in cases of extreme trauma. Multiple personality was popularized by fiction and pop culture and so there is a common misconception that it exists for more frequently than it actually does. Yet, from time to time I still encounter people who claim that they have multiple personality disorder even though it was changed to DID. Their reasoning is usually that they lack a sense of self or personal identity. I’ve also encountered people that make this claim so that they will get attention.
- ADHD – I’m going to dip into a little bit of controversy here but this is my personal and professional opinion about ADHD based on years of experience. ADHD is overdiagnosed and improperly diagnosed. I would even go so far as to say that this diagnosis is abused by professionals and clients. I hear people tell me constantly that they have ADHD because they get distracted, have a hard time staying on topic or dislike sitting still for long periods of time. True ADHD definitely does exist and those cases show a high level of responsiveness to medication, sometimes even within the first day. Many people who have been diagnosed with ADHD take medication with no result. We live in a very distracted and highly stimulating world. Most of the time, I feel like cases of ADHD is a normal response to a highly stimulating environment. Certain amounts of distractibility is normal, expected even. People with ADHD struggle in school, usually get bad grades and struggle to function at work. In other words, there is disorder in their life. People tell me that they have ADHD even though they have good grades, do well at work and maintain order in their life.
**If you are dealing with problems and issues and you don’t know where to start, I hope that you will give me the opportunity of helping you find the starting point that leads to a better life. Give me a call or email me.