Unfortunately, mental health is something that is taken very lightly in our country. People fail to realize the seriousness of mental health disorders and hence use clinical terms such as depression, OCD and schizophrenia very lightly.
An example of the above is given below in the form of a conversation between two friends.
Rohit: Hi Mahesh. How are you?
Mahesh: Hi Rohit. I am fine How about you?
Rohit: I am good. What are you up to these days?
Mahesh: Nothing much. I am having online classes these days. Other than that, I don’t do much. I feel quite depressed sitting at home most of the time.
Rohit: Are you sure you feel depressed? Maybe you should try pursuing some hobbies.
In the above conversation, the two friends are using the term ‘depressed’ quite casually. Mahesh is labelling himself as depressed, even though he has not been diagnosed with the disorder. This is known as ‘Casual Labelling’ which is very common among people these days.
Another problem that leads to Casual Labelling is self-diagnosis. This is a process where you identify or diagnose a medical condition in yourself. Many people are often searching for or looking up things on the Internet which leads to misinformation.
Not only is self-diagnosing bad, but it can also be dangerous. If you jump to conclusions about the condition you’re suffering from, you may begin wrongful treatment and cause more harm to yourself. Moreover, you also run the risk of being completely wrong about an illness you have, especially if the symptoms you are experiencing are common.
Although it’s great to be aware of your mental health and actively seek answers, you should not attempt to self-diagnose yourself. Reaching a diagnosis can be a complex process, especially when you exhibit symptoms associated with numerous mental illnesses. This is particularly dangerous when you’re in denial about some of the symptoms you maybe experiencing.
What can you do instead?
Here are some useful tips to follow instead of self-diagnosing yourself:
1. Seek Professional Help-
Instead of using casual labels or self-diagnosing yourself, it might be helpful to seek professional assistance for the same. A mental health professional is someone who is trained with years of experience and can help you understand what you’re experiencing. Accordingly, they will suggest a treatment option for you based on the severity of your problem.
Seeking professional help is essential if you want to properly heal from your illness.
2. Correct someone-
Another way of not using casual labels or self-diagnosing is to correct those who use such terms casually. It is important to spread awareness and let people know that using such terms lightly is wrong and can have many consequences.
3. Read authentic resources-
It is normal to want to research about your symptoms after consulting with your doctor. However, it is important that you limit your research or stick to authentic and credible resources only. There are many resources which provide wrong information and this can lead to misinformation and misunderstanding again which should be avoided at all costs.
Ask your doctor for credible resources if needed.
4. Prepare questions to ask your doctor
Remember that your doctor is an experienced person who has probably dealt with many similar issues in the past. Hence, prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor to get more authentic information if needed.
Instead of saying, ‘I read about my symptoms and I think it’s X disease,’ try, ‘What can you tell me about X disease?’ Show that you’re open-minded by asking for their opinion and use follow-up questions too. Also ask them about what the next steps might be.