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The Dangers of Diagnosing a Problem - Jonathan Pageau

All of us self-diagnose many things in our lives.

Often we know what we are talking about, more often we don't.

I retried from health care several years ago. In family medicine, it was not uncommon for people to come in with a self-diagnosed problem they got from Dr. Google.

Dr. Google was usually if not always wrong.

When we self-diagnose do we make the diagnosis real when it is not the problem?

Jonathan Pageau discusses the possibilities.

Video from Jonathan Pageau

The Dangers of Diagnosing a Problem - Jonathan Pageau

Social Media and Self-diagnosis

"Is your child convinced they have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), autism, anxiety or depression, perhaps? Increasingly, mental health professionals observe children and teens “self-diagnosing” mental disorders after watching influencers discuss them on TikTok and other social media platforms. While awareness and understanding of mental health issues are important, certain exposure on these platforms can be harmful.

We put some questions to Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D., director of psychology, neuropsychology and social work, and co-director of the Center for Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Can you describe what is happening on social media platforms regarding children watching influencers and then diagnosing themselves?

On platforms such as TikTok, children and teens are exposed to content where influencers openly discuss their mental health experiences. This may include anecdotes about symptoms, coping strategies and even potential diagnoses. These platforms provide a space for people to discuss their struggles and experiences, often in an attempt to share their story, raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health. Their experiences may resonate with some teenagers, and they may begin to self-identify with various disorders such as anxiety, depression or even conditions like autism. For instance, if an influencer describes their challenges with social interactions, a viewer might hastily conclude that they also have autism based on this limited information, when this symptom may actually be normal or related to another mental health condition..." from the article: Social Media and Self-diagnosis

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