One of the things that has been very helpful in my lifetime is the advent of the Internet. It is full of information, makes the world smaller, and increases direct communication with friends, family, acquaintances from all parts of a person’s life. It is also helpful to learn new things and different skills via such channels as YouTube.
One of the things, however, that I’ve not really like over the past few years is people using the tools on the Internet. Well we have all done a survey or two, as well as these quizzes on social media posts such as Facebook, there’s also other places were people turn to when they are not feeling well. There are many websites that contain good information, however, it is not always truthful and your interpretation of what is written plays a factor.
I have clients who come in to my practice and who tell me what their diagnosis is/are. I use to not ask this question but now it is part of my standard questions. I asked them where they got that/those diagnosis. It is very concerning how many times people have answered the Internet. And I also find it interesting that some clients also told me that they went to a “reputable” website. While those exist, there are many dangers in self diagnosing from information found on the Internet.
How does the training I received is to learn how to use the symptoms reported my clients and make sure that they are interpreted appropriately. Not being able to sleep for a night or two does not qualify you to be diagnosed with insomnia or hypomania. I think that we all have some difficulties at different times but we have to be very careful to jump from difficulties to diagnosis. There is a difference between having a traumatic event and having post traumatic stress disorder.
I also prefer that people share what they found on the internet but also state that they are not necessarily convinced that they have that diagnosis. Diagnosing, while not too difficult, requires skill and is also best left to trained professionals. I have had many people come into my office with several diagnoses. I remind my clients that diagnosing may take time and that any professional will tell you to start with the most mild diagnosis before making more major diagnoses.
I am happy that more people are aware of this than before, but learning to talk to professionals before diagnosing a fractured foot when in all reality, it is a mild sprain, is very important.