Obliterating Misdiagnosing of Mental Health Disorders Could Prove to be Lifesaving, Feel Victims

Obliterating Misdiagnosing of Mental Health Disorders Could Prove to be Lifesaving, Feel Victims

November 15, 2021

Obliterating Misdiagnosing of Mental Health Disorders Could Prove to be Lifesaving, Feel Victims

Mental Health

Research suggests approximately one-third of the patients enduring some kind of mental health conditions are always misdiagnosed. There are innumerable stories of victims who have been misdiagnosed.

Let us look into a heart-wrenching story of misdiagnosis in a woman:

Julie Whitehead, 51 from Brandon, Mississippi, was misdiagnosed with multiple mental health conditions such as postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She said her providers only saw symptoms of depression or hypomania, but not both, on her first visit, which lead to misdiagnosis.

After 15 years of misdiagnosis, she was correctly diagnosed for bipolar disorder by a Mississippi hospital. Her life was perfect before the birth of her third daughter.  But her life got upended (after the birth for her third daughter) when she became overwhelmed after having three daughters in less than 10 years. She used to cry inconsolably and started facing challenges to concentrate or to focus on completing her daily chores.

She confessed that she regretted her parenting skills as she was not able to take care of her newborn daughter. The feeling of failure to fit into the role of a mother haunted her day and night. She was not able to understand the underlying reason behind her struggle and was followed by guilt. Therefore, one night she decided to leave her home and end her life.

But she was rescued by Louisiana police. She narrated her experience of her hypomania episodes. For a decade she presumed and blamed herself of being lazy and not able to fulfill her duties. However, soon after correct diagnosis, made after 15 years of struggle, she said she got her life back.

Julie Whitehead is not the only one who has been misdiagnosed. According to a study, published in February 2021, more than 30 percent of people dealing with mental health conditions deal with misdiagnosis The study evinced that schizoaffective disorder was the most common condition that is misdiagnosed in around 75 percent of cases, followed by major depressive disorder in approximately 54.72 percent cases, schizophrenia in around 23.71 percent cases, and bipolar disorder nearly in 17.78 percent cases. The study also showed that bipolar disorder was often misdiagnosed as schizophrenia and vice versa. 56.25% of schizophrenic patients were misdiagnosed for bipolar disorder.

What are the reasons behind misdiagnosis?

Recently a statement was released by Itai Danovitch, M.D., a professor and the chair of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, regarding the possible reason for misdiagnosis. According to Danovitch, misdiagnosis is very common due to different health conditions. Identifying the symptoms and the underlying cause behind the symptoms is the key to receive correct treatment. Thoughtful and comprehensive assessment is required to receive correct treatment, she said.

According to a statement released at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, primary health care providers just spend 10 to 15 minutes in conversation with patients which might not be enough to completely evaluate their condition. Primary heath care providers may be able to treat physical condition, but patients also need to open up regarding their mental health symptoms which will enable the primary health care providers to refer them to mental health professionals.

Sometimes the reason for misdiagnosis may not be the fault of an evaluator, but it can be due to some mental health symptoms that evolve with time and during the time of diagnosis the symptoms might not have taken a concrete form. This is the very reason mental health professionals take a longer time to evaluate their patients, especially with bipolar disorder. If the evaluation time frame is shorter, then there are chances of certain symptoms getting skipped—leading to misdiagnosis.

Sometimes even qualified mental health providers misdiagnose due to a biased approach towards nationality, gender, culture and ethnicity. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, African Americans are misdiagnosed with schizophrenia compared to Latino Americans. However, the existence of schizophrenia is contradictory in American population and this disparity can be purely due to racial and cultural grounds.

Getting correct treatment is crucial

Recognizing symptoms correctly, receiving correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be vital because incorrect diagnosis leads to worsening of symptoms. According to NAMI, approximately 5.8 percent adults in the United States living with mental health problems face challenges of unemployment. Close to 40 percent people grappling with mental health conditions also suffer from physical health issues such as metabolic diseases and cardiovascular problems.

Seek help

Wrongly prescribed medication due to incorrect diagnosis can wreak havoc in people’s health. Therefore, seeking professional help at the earliest is the first step towards correct diagnosis. People should know their symptoms well and come out of the social stigma. Explaining the symptoms well to the mental health providers cut down chances of misdiagnosis.

If you or a loved one is battling with any mental health condition, reach out to us at Invictus Health Group. We can assess your mental health condition with precision and help you connect with the right mental health treatment centers in southern California. We collaborate with some of the best inpatient mental health treatment centers in southern California. For further information call us now on our 24/7 helpline number 866-548-0190 and get immediate assistance.

Most Insurance Plans Accepted. Call Now for a Free Confidential Insurance Verification.

Verify Insurance