The Problem With Mental Health Self-diagnosis.

It can be difficult taking time out to get to the doctors, or to get an appointment even if you have the time, so a lot of us end up Googling symptoms and self-diagnosing. This is really useful, and I have been quite successful in my attempts. However, it can get confusing and one wrong click can make you wonder if you need to sort a will.

Doctor Tina to the Rescue!

Misdianosing is especially common when it comes to mental health, so you should not be self-disganosing. However, self-diagnosis can be useful before taking any further steps.

Now, I’m not a doctor, but I do think I can help with some medical issues. Over the years, I have come to learn a lot about certain illnesses, so I thought I’d share my knowledge. Please feel free to correct me on anything.

Doctor Tina.jpg



Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious anxiety-related condition where a person experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges. The illness affects as many as 12 in every 1000 people… –

You do not have OCD if:
You like having a clean house.
You check you locked the door a couple of times to prevent burglary.
You check the cooker is off a couple of times in case you set the house alight.

While these may be similar symptoms of OCD, which most people will likely experience at some point, it is only an actual disorder if the symptoms interfere with daily functioning, work, relationships, and so on.


Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.

 A person experiencing depression will experience intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness, negativity and helplessness, and the feelings stay with them instead of going away. –

You do not have depression if:
You feel a bit down or sad (especially if there is reason to).
Work or life is getting you down.
You’ve broken up with somebody and feel sad.

Depression is an ongoing battle, not a couple of weeks of feeling a bit rubbish.


Vincent van Gogh‘s 1890 painting
Sorrowing old man (‘At Eternity’s Gate’)

Anxiety Disorder

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time.- National Institute of Mental Health

You do not have anxiety if:
You don’t feel like seeing people sometimes.
You’re stressed about a typically stressful time, like an exam.
You are having trouble sleeping due to something worrying you.

Again, anxiety is a normal human reaction to stressors, whereas anxiety disorders interfere with daily functioning.


Phobias are a form of anxiety disorder…phobias go further than general fear, causing phobic people to constantly worry that they will encounter the object/situation that they fear. Time and energy is often used to actively avoid the object of fear – and if they do come across it, they endure high levels of distress, experiencing nausea, shortness of breath and potentially even panic attacks. – Hypnotherapy Directory

You do not have a phobia if:
Standing on a cliff edge makes you feel a bit worried.
You don’t fancy a spider, bee, etc on you or even in your house.
Being in a lift with 15 people makes you feel a bit weird.

A phobia is never seen as that bad, because other people believe they can relate. Again, it interferes with your daily functioning. Seeing a pattern here?



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and it can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behaviour, and hyperactivity (over-activity). – ADHD Foundation

You/your child does not have ADHD if:
They are badly behaved.
They cannot focus on something utterly boring.
They have a lot of energy.

Unsupported, ADHD can lead to major social and educational exclusion. However, it is important to really look into this before labelling a child. Labels stick. Consider all lifestyle factros and anything which could affect the behaviour. Also – I’m very passionate about this one – please only use drugs as a last resort. Medication is one of the most common treatments given for ADHD and should be taken seriously.

This doesn’t really fit in with the rest, but is the most common one I see:


Colds and flu share some of the same symptoms (cough, sore throat), but are caused by different viruses. Flu can be much more serious than a cold.

There are around 200 viruses that cause colds and just three that cause flu. There are many strains of these flu viruses, and the vaccine changes every year to protect against the most common ones. – NHS

You do not have the flu if:
You have a runny nose and sore throat.
You’re sneezing and coughing.
You feel run down from all that sneezing and coughing.

Flu usually comes on much more quickly than a cold, and symptoms include:

  • sudden fever of 38-40C (100-104F)
  • muscle aches and pains
  • sweating
  • feeling exhausted and needing to lie down
  • a dry, chesty cough


I hope I’ve helped you to stop misdiagnosing yourselves now!

When people refer to these disorders and illnesses in response to normal emotion or a common illness, it makes them seem much less serious and almost mocks them. Some people out there are truly suffering. We already know that there is a strain on resources for help with these conditions, and this will only become worse if the people suffering are lumped in with the self-diagnosis Google doctors.

These are serious disorders and deserve recognition. However, I’m almost certain that 200 out of 500 people on my Facebook feed do not suffer from a mental disorder. And I’m also pretty sure that not everyone I know catches the flu at Christmas time.

Do you agree with this post? Are there any common misdiagnosed illnesses I’ve missed?

You might also find this post interesting: Arachnophobia – Uncontrollable fear of spiders. (no pics)

Tina x
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Disclaimer: Is there a doctor in the house? No! In case this wasn’t obvious, this is a tongue-in-cheek article and I am not a doctor.  All of the facts and symptoms have been sourced and stated, and opinions are personal. 







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  • Its difficult because a lot of people are misdiagnosed by professionals too. I wish we could move away from the medical model all together, but thats another rant.

    “not a couple of weeks of feeling a bit rubbish.” actually you can be diagnosed after 2 weeks of feeling sad.

    Such a complicated area.

    • There is a lot of misdiagnosis, which is why it’s a bit worrying. And yes, not all cases are the same, but as a general rule, I would say a slump for a couple of weeks is much different to an ongoing battle.
      But you’re right, it is complicated and there are grey areas.

  • Loved this post! I hate when people say ‘I’m so depressed’ in an off hand comment when I have a parent who has had manic depression all my life. Really enjoyed reading this one chick xx

    • Thank you! Exactly what I mean. It’s so frustrating. I don’t even have them so can’t imagine what it’s like for people who do to come across that and have it made out to be so trivial. I’ve definitely seen people go through some of these things and it’s so much more complicated than it seems. Sorry to hear about your situation, sounds tough xx

  • Yeah I know people don’t do it intentionally so try not to let it bother me too much. To be honest been such a part of our lives, dad is so good with it now and recognises episodes it’s managble with good meds and doctors xxx

    • Yeah I guess! No point letting it get to you, I just see it so often. Aw amazing 🙂 glad to hear it xxx

  • Lee

    You should also look into dyslexia and dyscalculia. I swear 4 in every 5 of my students who claim to have it self diagnosed just because they are rubbish at with literacy and numeracy. That’s just a hypothesis and would need to look into it more.

    • I did think about dyslexia actually, but wasn’t sure enough about false symptoms. Or dyscalculia, but I’m sure the same goes for those.

  • loved this post! Some really good thoughts here 😀 xx

    • Thank you! 🙂

  • katherine

    it doesn’t bother me, because not everyone has the luxury of being able to see a reliable professional. that is a privilege. it does, however, bother me when people write things telling people what exactly disorders are, and aren’t. especially when they’re not professionals. mental illness, even specific disorders, can come in all shapes and sizes, and saying “this isn’t this” often only contributes to anxiety – a common symptom of MI is guilt and constant anxiety over whether you are ‘really’ ill or not – and prevents people from seeking help, especially those who need it most.

    • I understand where you are coming from. This is supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek post about how some phrases can be so overused that people needing help can have their symptoms seen as trivial.
      I am not sure where you are from, but everybody is able to see a doctor in the UK, so I am sorry if that is not the case near you.
      I understand that it is not always the case that such ‘symptoms’ mean nothing. Again, I have clearly stated I am not a doctor so hopefully nobody will take real advice from this post.

      I do have a lot of knowledge about and experience with these illnesses and wouldn’t say anything if not.

      I appreciate your comment and point of view. Thank you for commenting and giving another perspective.

  • jahnisec

    Great post, I agree that a lot of people over think their behaviors.

    • Thanks! Definitely. Some people look for a reason, but sometimes, it’s just being human.

  • I couldn’t agree more with this. One of the most frustrating things is when people just assume that the internet holds all the best information: “Oh if Google says it, it must be true!” What they don’t understand is that ANYONE can write ANYTHING on the internet, so it’s always best to see a professional. I guess you could say that with both physical and mental health. <3 xox

    • Tina

      Yeah, I definitely think it works for both mental and physical. I am all for a good Googling of symptoms and trying to figure things out. I even think you could realise these illnesses on your own, but it’s the pettiness with which it’s applied sometimes. And of course, a professional can offer so much more support.

  • Annie Says

    I’ve been around people with mental illness and those who thougth they have mental ilness. And it’s always so annoying when people claim to have something just for the sound of it and to get symphaty. People I had most contact with mostly claimed they have depression or OCD, simply because the symptoms were vaguely simmiliar to what they found on the internet and they refused to see the doctor because “they already self-diagnosed”.
    All their “problems” were usually fixed or go much better after I gave them few tips on how to deal with their “illness”. Of course I’m not a doctor, but but as long as it works and it’s not harmful to the person, why not give some advice 😛

    I guess tthe whole thing bothers me this much because I am a person for who even the doctors can’t put a diagnosis to and I’ve been around all kinds of doctors and had bilion different medication for 15 years.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your troubles, but that’s exactly what I mean. It seems to be a go-to response rather than trying to improve things first. It’s great that you could help people when they felt that way too.
      It’s always worth considering options and I happily look for my own diagnosis whenevr I’m not well, but I do claim to have an illness or anything close if I happen to have some similar symptoms.

  • Honestly Aine

    More folks need to read this, it can be so frustrating to see some folks talking about various mental health issues and it’s all self diagnosed or just having a bad day or week. I’ve issues myself, so I do tend to get a bit fed up listening to some folks 🙂 Thankfully I’m pretty well at the minute!

    Honestly Aine

    • Tina

      Sorry, I’ve just seen this! I’m glad you’re doing okay at the moment. Thank you for taking the time to read this too. I think to a point you can know there’s a problem with yourself and possibly even self diagnose, but yes, the people I mean is the ones you mention, who have a bad week and call it depression, or don’t fancy a night out and say they have anxiety. Not quite! Hope you’re well xxx