Recently I got into somewhat of a semi-argument (?) on a forum I belong to, so I’d like to take a moment and write a blog post about the concept of self-diagnosis, and what it entails.
Technically, self-diagnosis is an oxymoron. A true medical diagnosis can only be made by a doctor. I believe this is a good thing, because it benefits our society to have a legal process of licensure and a formal, systematic way to go about these things. Everyone who suspects they have any kind of developmental disorder or mental illness should first and foremost strive to find a good doctor.
But some of us have more access to healthcare than others, and those of us who do may also find that our access is greatly limited. We may live in a rural area where we’d have to travel many miles to find a doctor who specializes in the disorder we think we might have; and doctors tend to diagnose within their realm of specialty (or lack thereof.)
So, while self-diagnosis is an oxymoron and technically doesn’t exist, for some people — at least on a temporary basis — it is their only option. Also, it must be kept in mind that doctors are out to make money just like everyone else and if it means you will pay them, there are doctors out there who will agree (or disagree) that you have Restless Wandering Womb Syndrome if it means they get paid.
But we should always strive for official diagnosis as a long-term goal. Why?
The key is that doctors work for us, and we must always hold them to good standards. Even if our option seems to only be one doctor, we should not let that person get away with manipulating or controlling us; we should certainly not let that person dismiss any of our concerns.
The key is also not to say we have something, if we’re not sure we do. If you don’t have a diagnosis yet, it’s OK to say you suspect or assume that you probably have something — just don’t go around saying you actually have it until you’ve been diagnosed, or have something very close to a formal diagnosis. For some disorders, the diagnostic process is actually complicated and doctors may advise that it’s not worth the effort if the disorder is not greatly interfering with your life.
If you “diagnose yourself” with a disorder, you could very well be right. You could also be wrong. Expect to be criticized for your opinion.
In other news, you’ll be criticized for your opinion no matter WHAT you do in life. 🙂 Even if you have a formal diagnosis, people might deny your condition. There are times that misdiagnosis happens, so just because you have a diagnosis doesn’t even necessarily mean that it’s correct.