Self-Diagnosis: A Mental Health Crisis

Scott Convery, Writer

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In our current cultural climate, mental health and the importance of mental health awareness ever-present. Our modern media and literature consistently builds protagonists and leading roles with mental illness, as seen in shows like 13 Reasons Why and books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

On the surface, many believe the recurring face of mental illness in our culture to a positive change, but this shift brings forth a problem of a new breed: self-diagnosis.

Self-diagnosis is the process of identifying and diagnosing medical conditions in oneself, regardless of one’s qualifications. This leads to many greater issues.

When an individual claims, for example, that they have depression just because they are sad, they water down what it means to have a true diagnosis for clinical depression. It robs the legitimacy of an issue with real weight.

This phenomenon goes hand in hand with a psychological process called semantic satiation, which occurs when you speak or think a word so many times that it loses any kind of sense or meaning. The current situation with coverage of mental illnesses is essentially large-scale semantic satiation that has become a “boy who cried wolf” situation. So many teens have claimed to have a variety of mental illnesses without any true diagnosis that nobody raises an eyebrow when those with actual mental illnesses suffer from their ailments.

If you want to go around saying that you’re depressed, get a real diagnosis from a real doctor. That way, you can figure out how to overcome your problems, whether they are clinical or not.