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"Think Twice Before Using Social Media for Self-Diagnosis: Why It's Not Recommended"




With the rise of technology and social media, we can access an endless stream of content about mental health and well-being without even searching for it.


For the most part, this has been a positive evolution, especially because social media has helped promote mental health education and reduce stigma. The major bonus is the sense of community. Connecting with others facing similar challenges can provide much-needed support and comfort.


Self-diagnosis isn't new, but it has become more prevalent in recent years, thanks to the ease of accessing information online in a matter of seconds.


However, it has also led to a dangerous trend: a lot of people are self-diagnosing mental health issues without the guidance of trained professionals. Think about the last time you searched WebMD or used Google only to find you had an incurable disease and were destined for doom. Get it? A social media-based mental health self-diagnosis can lead you down the same path. And that is NOT good for overall mental wellness.


This blog post will shed light on the highly misunderstood topic of the differences between mental health disorders and personality traits, plus give reasons why you should avoid jumping on this bandwagon of self-diagnosing.


 


Difference between mental health disorders and personality traits


Mental health disorders and personality traits are two distinct yet interconnected concepts that are often misunderstood. The two are related


to our mental state. However, they have different definitions, causes, and effects. Simply put, while mental health relates to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, personality refers to the unique patterns of thoughts and behaviors that define us as individuals.


What is a mental health disorder? A mental health disorder is a clinically diagnosable condition that affects a person's behavior, thoughts, and mood.


But that's not all; mental health disorders are also characterized by significant impairment in a person's ability to function in their daily life.


What are personality traits? A personality trait, on the other hand, is defined as a person’s thinking patterns, feelings, and behaviors.




These are innate qualities that govern how a person interacts with the world around them.

Personality traits can be positive or negative, and they can change over time. Some common personality traits include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.


So, unlike mental health disorders, personality traits are not clinically diagnosable, and they do not necessarily cause significant impairment in a person's life. Simply put your self-centered, toxic ex...is likely not a diagnosable narcissist. They just have a horrible personality.




The risks of self-diagnosis


As stated earlier, self-diagnosis is a dangerous trend where a lot of people attempt to diagnose their own mental health conditions based on what they read or see on social media.


Some of the risks associated with social media self-diagnosis when it comes to mental illness include:


Misdiagnosis

It goes without saying that one of the biggest risks of self-diagnosis is the possibility of misdiagnosis.

Mental health symptoms can overlap and resemble symptoms of other conditions, and it takes a trained professional to properly diagnose a mental illness.


Normalizing Symptoms

Social media can make it easy to normalize mental health symptoms.

When people see others sharing their experiences with mental health issues, they may start to assume that what they’re experiencing is normal.

This in turn will prevent them from seeking the help they need, which complicates the process of diagnosis and prevents timely treatment.


Undermining Professional Help

Self-diagnosis can undermine the importance of professional help. While peer support can be helpful, it should never replace the importance of seeking professional help.

Getting information and support from social media can only get you so far. In the long run, to get the help that you actually need, professional intervention might be necessary.


Amplifying Anxiety

Social media self-diagnosis can often amplify anxiety and lead to overthinking.

When people start searching online for information on mental health symptoms, they can easily fall into a rabbit hole of information overload. This can exacerbate symptoms and cause further distress.


That's why you should never rely on social media to give yourself any diagnosis...especially a mental health-related one. Visit websites like Psychology Today, Alma, or Mental Health Match to find a therapist who specializes in your needs and takes your insurance. Then go back to socials to find your community with the right diagnosis.





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