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pros and cons of diagnosing mental illness

Pros and cons of diagnosing mental illness

It is a very long debate with no solid reason that either diagnosing mental illness is necessary or not. Both parties have powerful unanswerable arguments that this debate changes its direction. Now psychologists discuss the pros and cons of diagnosis of a mental disorder rather than its necessity. 

The diagnosis of mental disorders is very different from other physiological problems. There are no tests, measurements, and scans that work as evidence for a mental disorder. It solely depends on observations, interviews, rating scales, and other written tests for diagnosing mental health problems. 

The other limitation for diagnosis is that only research, discussions, and consensus approves it. That varies with time and even eliminated. Despite this, for some problems, the criteria are overlapped. It is hard to find a true diagnosis for a person. Two people having more or less the same symptoms get diagnosed differently because their personality traits are different.  

It requires vast experience and expert supervision throughout the period. Sometimes it gets hard for professionals, and they find a mediating way after discussion and give therapy sessions. There are certain pros and cons of diagnosing mental illnesses that everyone must keep in mind before giving or getting a diagnosis. 

Benefits of Diagnosis.

  • Once a person gets a diagnosis, it will help him/her to access special services.
  • Diagnosis helps other psychologists to understand the problem. If a patient changes their psychologists for some reason, this diagnosis helps identify the problem for new psychologists.
  • The name of the problem gives them a sense of knowing instead of suspicion.
  • Patients don’t feel alone as they understand other people have it, too, even before their diagnosis.
  • It becomes easier to explain the problem to others and professionals when you know the definite name of the complication.
  • Diagnosis helps in a specific intervention. Psychologists get rough ideas for treatment. After the diagnosis, almost every psychologist prescribes the same kind of intervention.
  • The patient takes it seriously and follows the prescription. It creates a sense of responsibility, and they go after treatment.
  • It gives insight into the problem. They get the idea of the issue rather than think of themselves as crazy.
  • The diagnosis gives a label to a cluster of symptoms, experiences, or problems.
  • It gives hope and reduces the anxiety of the unknown.
  • The diagnosis makes people connect to other individuals facing the same type of problem.
  • Specific diagnoses help people identify empirically supported treatments. These diagnoses have a good track of symptom reduction and decreased pain. For example, response therapy and exposure therapy is highly effective for OCD patients.
  • Diagnosis lends a hand to the financial burden. It helps in insurance reimbursement as it gives proof of the problem.
  • The clarity in diagnosis assists in educational or vocational assistance and getting appropriate medication.

Drawbacks for diagnosis.

  • This field is more about experience and proficiency. So sometimes, a diagnosis might be diverse from each other even if the symptoms are overlapping. Different diagnoses from different psychologists can confuse the patient.
  • A stigma is attached to mental health diagnosis that turns a person into an abnormal human being. 
  • Sometimes, elders may over-identify with the illness that reinforces the problem. For instance, they never a hyperactive child to have new experiences.
  • A diagnosis affects personal constraints while ignoring the other family and social factors. For example, a person is depressed because he lost his job, and the word depression is not enough to specify its cause.
  • A diagnosis ignores all other factors that are causing the problem. Just like, one person is depressed due to failure in exams, and the other lost his girlfriend. A psychologist treats the symptoms of depression while ignoring the cause.
  • There is a strong limitation that diagnosis is based on Western explanation and do not count other cultural explanations.
  • The societal stigma attached to diagnosis makes it complicated for the patients to carry. Having a mental illness or a psychological problem mostly stigmatize people and may confuse them with psychosis and violent behaviors. These labels and stigmas can be detrimental down the road when applying for the license and jobs, especially those requiring intensive screening.
  • The Professional’s opinion for diagnosis is never in favor. It cannot be reliable and valid. In other words, different interviews with clinicians result in a different diagnosis.
  • Trends in diagnosis vary in terms of popularity, educational influences, controversies, and biases within the field. The accuracy of diagnostic criteria can be increased through psychological assessments and structured interviews, but these become costly and time taking sometimes.
  • Labels fail to explain causes.
  • Labeling things doesn’t help. It is not necessary to label the situation before solving it. Psychotherapists know the reason, causes, effects, and treatment plans best suitable for the problem to treat a patient.

Alternatives to a mental health diagnosis.

Above all, discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of diagnosis, now it is necessary to find a mediating way to deal with the situation. Now, the psychologists may understand the problem in a child or adult’s family, social, and educational context without necessarily feeling the need to give a formal diagnosis. They find the reinforcers, if they get anything from it, how the interaction affects other problems, and how they get affected by the problem. Clinical interventions can be used effectively without the need for a formal diagnosis.

This debate is concerned mainly with psychologists. If you are facing any mental health problems, go for a check-up, and follow therapy. Without considering the fact either your psychologists suggest labels or not. For some reason, labeling a problem is a satisfaction to a patient too. It becomes easier for them to have some issues with the name rather than being vague.

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