Sometimes the process of diagnosing mental illness can be frustrating. Frequently, someone experiencing a mental health crisis is well aware that something is wrong. Naturally, he or she wants answers. It can take months, and sometimes years, for doctors and other mental health professionals such as myself to accurately diagnose a mental illness. Some reasons for this can be:
- The signs and symptoms of mental illnesses often lap. For example, psychotic features are a part of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders as well as mood disorders, dissociative disorders, and personality disorders. There are distinct criteria and symptoms of every mental disorder. However since each person is unique what is depression for one person may not be depression for another.
- Generally speaking there are no medical tests to diagnose mental illness.
Thus instead of seeking an accurate diagnosis, albeit this is important, I often look at how the person operates and reacts to their environment. The dynamics in the Individual’s psychological and social world often provides key areas to assist the person to cope better with their lives and hence find healing.