Dangers of Looking up Mental Illness on the Internet and Sel -diagnosis

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 3rd Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Mental Health

This article is to remind people who self diagnosis from the scant information they get from the Internet. The internet may be a useful guide but it is only a professional diagnosis from a health care specialists that can truly diagnosis a physical or mental disorder.


The general public cannot diagnose mental illnesses just because they read something on the net. It takes years of training to be able to differentiate the subtleties between the illnesses and even then misdiagnoses have been made.

Information found on the net is to be used as an initial starting point, after which professional help should be sought.

Professionals make mistakes

Even the professionals sometimes make mistakes when diagnosing mental illness

The DSM V - Revised is the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and is used throughout the mental health profession as the authority on the identification and classification of mental illness. The DSM is sectioned off by what are called axes. There are five axes in total. Axis I identifies and classifies the most severe mental disorders and Axis II, the personality disorders. The other three axes are not the focus of this paper.

By the standard definition borderline personality disorder is not as severe as the axis I disorders, though it is the most severe of the axis II personality disorders. What this means is that people with borderline personality disorders do not function like the general population in the same circumstances, but they are for the most part still in touch with what we call reality, at least most of the time.

Yet, their reactions to things and people around them are far from normal, they will overreact to people and situations almost all the time. People with borderline personality disorder overreact to mundane situations and have a distorted view of reality at the time.

It is the degree of distortion that makes the difference between normal and abnormal behavior and people with personality disorders will overreact more often than not. For example saying "no" to a person with a personality disorder, especially borderline personality disorder, can become a reason for huge fight.

Different mental disorders

We all know that in life there are times when we must say no. People suffering from borderline personality disorder cannot accept no for an answer regardless of the reasoning for declining their demands. An average person can accept no if they ask for a favor from someone and that person is unable to do it with good justification. The borderline personality disorder individual will not be able to accept any explanation for being refused the favor This is why it is considered a mental disorder. It is called borderline because it is on the borderline that cuts off axis I from axis II mental disorders. In other words though they still function in reality as we know it, there are times that that reality is very distorted and so they are on the borderline between the two axes.

The most severe of all the mental illnesses is schizophrenia and therefore it is classified in DSM IV axis I. People suffering from schizophrenia are usually so totally out of reality they are said to be experiencing psychosis. They do not know right from wrong. They may not know who they are, nor understand what is real to what is imaginary.

For example, I had a patient that would not turn on the TV, because the man in the TV, was telling her to kill herself. I had another one who is convinced that he saw a cigarette float through the air all evening long and the police were sending him mental warnings that they were out to get him.

Three of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia though one does not have to have all three symptoms to be given that classification.

DID or Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as MPD, or multiple personality disorder, happens when the person has a fragmented personality. Sometimes they are themselves and sometimes they become another personality (person(s)), which are completely different from the main personality. For example, an adult may have several personalities who are children, or a very shy and gentle person may have a very wild and brash personality.

Bipolar Disorder is often time misdiagnosed or misunderstood by the layperson to be schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder formerly known as manic depressive disorder is a disorder on its own and considered a mood disorder. Simply stated these moods are happy and sad. What makes it a disorder is that when patients suffering from the disorder are happy or manic, they are way too happy and overly optimistic to the point that they sometimes confuse reality. The manic stage of the disorder can be easily mistaken for schizophrenia.

For example, in a manic stage, sufferers can do irrational things such as trying to complete a four-year university program in three months. The behavior is bizarre and not based in reality. Once the stage is over the patients usually crash and go into the depression stage.

The other stage of bipolar disorder is sad, or depressed, and when people suffering from this stage of the disorder are depressed, they are clinically depressed.

Depression is also a mental disorder on its own, but what makes clinical depression and bipolar disorder different is that bipolar disorder affects the two mood polar opposites - depression and mania, whereas clinical depression only affects depression.

Symptoms, as you see, do overlap and that is why only a qualified clinician can make a diagnosis, not the laymen who read a few articles on the net.

All photos taken from the public domain
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Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Disassociative Disorder, Dsm V, Manic Depressive, Mental Disorders, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Multiple Personaility Disorder, Schizophrenia, Self Diagnosis

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Kingwell
3rd Nov 2015 (#)

I got a lot out of this post. Not only do you show the absurdity of
self diagnosis from the internet but you explain in layman's terms the differences between the different mental disorders. Blessings.

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author avatar brendamarie
3rd Nov 2015 (#)

Carol, amazing article. I agree, with Kingwells. Thank-you for writing this one.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
4th Nov 2015 (#)

This was great, Carol, very eye-opening! Thank you.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
4th Nov 2015 (#)

Interesting Post!

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