The internet and mental health: Why you should not self-diagnose

The internet and mental health: Why you should not self-diagnose
  • PublishedApril 13, 2021

Everyone has probably sought mental health information from Google either to learn or for self diagnosis at one time or the other. While the internet is a great place to get basic information,you need to be careful about your research, especially on mental health.

Mental health self diagnosis is when a person applies diagnostic labels to a collection of symptoms that they notice about themselves.Often,people do this after researching on health-related blogs in an attempt to understand what is going on.

Here are 5 reasons why you should not use the internet for mental health diagnosis;

The internet is full of false information

The internet is open for everyone in the world to write about what they want but what people need to comprehend is that opinion is way different from professional advice. It is great to share stories about personal experiences when you need support but relying on this type of avenues for self-diagnosis could cost you in the long run.

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Cyberchondria is a real thing

Continuous internet searches cause anxiety and can lead to cyberchondria,a condition that refers to someone whose personal anxiety about their health that is created or exacerbated by using the internet to search for medical information.If you already suffer from anxiety,this may pull you further down that spiral. Try and restrain from running to Google all the time and have ways you can use to deal with the anxiety.

Perplexed man[source:google]

Diagnosing a mental health is not about ticking off a checklist of symptoms

Taking a look at an online symptom checker on a reputable site may help you make a decision about the type and urgency of treatment required but using those websites is bound to leave so many factors out of the picture and lead to errors during treatment. Seek for a more lasting and less risky option like visiting a professional  and certified mental health practitioner.

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Mental health assessment should be both objective and comprehensive

We all struggle with cognitive distortions (habitual ways of thinking that are often inaccurate and negatively biased) even during the best of times.During a mental health crisis,our thoughts are bound to be even more skewed. You therefore need someone who can be objective in their assessment and diagnosis.A good healthcare professional will therefore be in the best position carry a comprehensive analysis of your situation.

An accurate mental health diagnosis is essential for effective treatment

Always remember that people are more than the sum of their symptoms and mental illness is serious and complex.If you are struggling with mental health,keep in mind that you are not alone. If you cannot confide in anyone,there are a lot of resources that you can seek help from such as Let’s go mental.

Feature photo: unsplash

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