Dear readers, welcome to our new article! We’re going to discuss diagnoses and the diagnostic approaches nowadays. How can we get diagnosed with a mental illness? Is the diagnosis important? How do the diagnostic criteria differ from country to country according to different manuals where these illnesses and disorders are classified?
Let’s start from the beginning. As I discussed in my previous article, there’s no blood or genetic test which would tell us, we have this or that mental health problem. Therefore the only way how to be diagnosed, is by our symptoms, by communicating with a psychologist or a psychiatrist, by filling out questionnares, etc… It’s quite unfortunate and the possibility of receiving a wrong diagnosis is quite high.
Even though this being the truth, I strongly believe that diagnosis is an incredibly important thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s self-diagnosis or a professional one. And why do I think so? I think, everyone needs to belong somewhere. And to be professionally or self-diagnosed with some condition, such as ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder and such, that can reassure us that we aren’t the only one having this problem, and that there are many people with the same condition, dealing with the same obstacles. Moreover, it gives us a feeling that we aren’t wrong or bad, just different, neurodivergent, of course in the case that we know about neurodiversity paradigm.
When I was diagnosed with autism the 2nd November 2016, it was such a huge relief for me. I finally stopped thinking whether I’m autistic or not, because…I had it on paper. Of course, there are people who don’t want or need any sort of diagnosis and that's completely OK. I can see many reasons why, for example the fear of reaction from their surroundings, the fear of loosing a job after “coming out” and such. Some of us may even be scared of the process of diagnosing themselves. It is quite unpleasant, at least in my case, however the relief after, was worth it. Nevertheless, if you think the stress and the problems from a diagnosis or the process will be greater than the relief, then don’t go for it. Unless it interferes with your lives. In that case, you should seek help immediatelly. Even if you don't believe it will help you, trust me, it IS worth it.
This stuff differs from person to person. Some people don’t want any diagnosis and there’s s nothing wrong about it. Even though, I wish to mention one more situation when the diagnosis might be great. For example, when someone tells me I don’t look like an autistic individual, I can show him my papers with an official diagnosis and silent him. People around understand and accept us better if they know we have some kind of mental illness, disorder or condition. For example an ADHD child won’t be considered as a bad, spoiled child after receiving a diagnosis. It’s quite sad that people value the piece of paper more than a subjective experience of a given person… However, until this will change, the professional diagnosis or (at least) self-diagnosis has an important role.
The whole subject gets even more complicated when we realize that mental disorders aren’t diagnosed just according to 1 resource. There’re 2 manuals, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Diseases) and ICD ( International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems). DSM has been created by American Psychiatry Association and is officially used in the USA. Here, in Europe, we use ICD 10, while the number 10 means the 10th revision.
Personally I believe DSM, which is in its 5th revision provides better information about mental health. I’m going to publish short articles about all possible mental issues and I’ll do so with the help of DSM 5. Sometimes, I’m going to mention what is the difference between DSM and ICD, if that variance is be big enough.
Look forward to my articles concisely providing information about mental health issues!
Do you have any question? Would you like to share your experience with others? Don’t hesitate to write us in the comment section below! We’re here for you all the time!