Mental illness shouldn’t be self-diagnosed

Mental illness shouldnt be self-diagnosed

Elad Gov-Ari

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) makes the day-to-day lives of those afflicted extraordinarily difficult. Whether that be turning a light switch on and off 14 times or washing hands before and after entering a new room, the mental illness strikes hard.
Many, however, find the label of OCD appealing, as they may lock their car doors an extra time or straighten their pencils on their desks.
Self-labeling, or self-diagnosing, is not uncommon. It also does not stay within the realms of OCD, as illnesses like anxiety, depression and such have a tendency to be misrepresented from non-medical professionals.
With the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) reporting that one in five American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness, it is of no question that those who label themselves may indeed have an underlying issue. Undiagnosed issues, however, should not be galavanted to everyone before a medical professional sits them down and assesses the mental health of the patient.
The harm coming from not seeking this professional opinion can derive from misdiagnoses and missing another disease, unfortunately harming the confidence and legitimacy of those who are afflicted. The subtleties of diagnosis are those that should be left to licensed experts with degrees in their field.
Medical websites such as or WebMD are not valid credentials and should be held with such definitive weight. Oftentimes, NAMI reports, these websites are taken as concrete diagnoses, causing patients to quarrel with physicians to treat them as if they are legitimately suffering from a mental disorder.
On a smaller scale, when one begins making statements such as, “I am so OCD because I have to lock my car door three times,” it becomes extremely offensive and discredits those with real ailments, making their real, severe symptoms seem far off.
Similarly, depression and depressive bouts are often joked about and consequently taken lightly, belittling the constant battle those afflicted fight with for periods of months or even years.
Obviously, non-diagnosed issues exist and should be talked about, explored and researched. This attention, however, must come from a licensed medical professional rather than an online website.