Get the right diagnosis

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Are underlying mental health challenges powering problematic behavior?

For some people, the path to diagnosis is short and direct. If you have clear symptoms that unambiguously point to an underlying problem, it can be relatively easy to present your challenges to a mental health professional who can help you chart a path to recovery. For others, the journey is not as simple.

 

The symptoms and diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD) overlap with disorders characterized by major mood episodes (such as major depressive, bipolar. and schizoaffective disorder). This overlap complicates diagnosis (1).

Undiagnosed mental health conditions can lead to erratic behavior, impulsive decisions, and difficulty functioning in day-to-day life. Often, lacking a diagnosis can make the person suffering from symptoms feel misunderstood and unheard, and the lack of a diagnosis means that making a treatment plan is difficult.

Commonly misdiagnosed disorders

Some mental health disorders have symptoms that overlap with the more well-known illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and OCD (2). These include:

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Borderline personality disorder

  • ADHD

  • PTSD

Treatment for these issues are available, but a misdiagnosis can push a person on to a more unstable path. Medications for some disorders can have a negative impact on others. If you're feeling like something isn't right, it's important to book an appointment with a psychiatrist and understand what the underlying issue really is.

Symptoms that should alert you to get a diagnosis

You may be feeling like things are spiraling out of control, but are unsure of what the core issue is. It can be useful to watch out for feelings and behaviors that indicate there's a problem. Symptoms that you should be sufficiently concerned about to seek a diagnosis include:

  • Manic episodes

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Mood swings

  • Insomnia

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Impulsive decision making

Unhealthy decisions

If you're struggling with a mental illness, especially if it's undiagnosed, you may feel forced to take extreme measures in order to make yourself feel better. Some people may self-medicate, some turn to dangerous and impulsive behaviors, and some feel like there is no way out other than actions that will do them harm.

Lifestyle choices can also isolate a person, and push them away from their closest relationships. If this resonates with you, you need to know that you're not alone and that you don't need to go through this on your own. Asking for help is the first step towards living a healthier, brighter, more balanced life.

Reach out today

Dr. Dhrymes offers psychiatric assessments and therapy for mental health disorders. The most important step to managing your health is obtaining the correct diagnosis. If you have been struggling with any of these symptoms, it can seem daunting and debilitating to ask for help. You are not alone, and treatment is available. Reach out today.

References

1. Cohen, L. J., Tanis, T., Ardalan, F., Yaseen, Z., & Galynker, I. (2016). Maladaptive interpersonal schemas as sensitive and specific markers of borderline personality disorder among psychiatric inpatients. Psychiatry research, 242, 395-403.

 

2. Fowler, J. C., Madan, A., Allen, J. G., Oldham, J. M., & Frueh, B. C. (2019). Differentiating bipolar disorder from borderline personality disorder: Diagnostic accuracy of the difficulty in emotion regulation scale and personality inventory for DSM-5. Journal of Affective Disorders, 245, 856-860.