Self-Diagnosis Harmful Effect on The Individual and Society
By: Quincy Wise
Since the dawn of time, persons have diagnosed themselves when inflicted with an ailment. Doctors were mainly a means to the end of their pain and typically of the spiritual variety. However, with the advances in technology and a more profound focus on personal health, there has been an enormous increase of self-diagnosis cases. Those who preceded to self-diagnose and not follow up with a medical professional does not only put themselves at risk but others as well. Those who self-diagnose themselves with serious mental disorders compromise the system that is in place to help those that do have disorders by wasting time and resources.
These “Self-diagnosers” deducts the time from doctors who are needed by those that are truly inflicted with such disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, (etc…). Doctors dedicate time to their patients and this time is broke up into diagnosing, treatment, and retaining. Doctors spend upwards of 11 years to get licensed. In that amount of time, they have learned how to properly diagnose someone without bias and discern a serious illness from a minor complication. “Self-Diagnosers” on the other hand completes a minimal amount of research on common symptoms using an online symptom checker, claim they have a disease that is not present and prevents the doctor from proper treatment. As stated by Dr. Srini Pillay, A assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical school, “The clinician can help you discern whether you swing from normal to down or down to up…the clinician can make the appropriate diagnosis…the danger is that you may misdirect the clinician or even yourself”. This quote clearly states how self-diagnosing can interfere with a professional’s opinion and your treatment. “People do not go to psychiatrists because they are “really sick.” They go because they think they are sick, and even this does not fully explain their action.”, states Dr. Charles Kadushin in his book Why People Go to Psychiatrist. These people try to wish their belief into reality, taking time away from the doctor, consequently taking time away from people who truly need treatment. Their self-diagnosis is ultimately based on misconceptions and overlapping symptoms.
Claiming to have an illness that was not diagnosed by a medical professional can be dangerous to patient and unfair to said medical professional who will not be able to provide adequate treatment due to unreliable information. Doctors may perform a linty of expensive examinations to get. A clear picture of the inner happenings of their patient’s bodies. 1 out of 5 medical visits in the United Kingdom alone is related to online self-implied searches by patients about their health. The total cost of the medical examinations is said to be around 420 million Euros or 476 million US dollars test that yielded in-conclusion results.
“Self-Diagnosers”, state that their internet searches help doctors understand how to “properly” treat them without having to go through a profuse number of medical exams. This reasoning then allows the patient to become an active member in their medical proceedings instead of just a recipient. The patient would know how to treat themselves. Another issue that can be argued is the fact that many people may not have access to a medical professional due to a numerous amount of reasons such as a lack of local infrastructure or personal finances. “As one patient with chronic fatigue syndrome put it, ‘The difference between a crazed neurotic and a seriously ill person is simply a test.” States author Maya Dusenbery in her exposé Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick. Many people may not trust doctors to provide a legitimate diagnosis that takes account of all of their symptoms. Serena Williams, a world renounced athlete, obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Neel Shah, failed to perceive the pain she was in whilst giving birth. As bluntly stated by Dr. Shah, of Beth Israel Hospital, “We believe black woman less when they express certain symptoms, they’re having especially those around pain.” A first-hand account by Co-Worker of Dr. Shah, registered nurse Tayla Andre of Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, expresses how her actions were ineffective in compelling to take better care of patients as Dr.Shah was known constantly cancel, and rush appointments to go on vacation. This account gives some validation to those who wish to self-diagnosis and medicate. Another account can be found from author Sian Ferguson, a self-proclaimed sufferer of PTSD. “I have PTSD. I’ve never been formally diagnosed with it, but I know I have it…my experiences meet and exceed the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. I never managed to get a professional, clinical diagnosis for PTSD.” Says author Sian Ferguson.
“Self-Diagnosers” have some validity in their pursuit of better self-care, but this pursuit typically leads to a massive amount of anxiety. Cyberchondria, derived from Cyber and Hypochondria, is the escalation of health worries due to researching symptoms online instead of going to the doctor. Searching for symptoms online saves the pursuers time and money. However, according to the study Evaluation of symptom checkers for self-diagnosis and triage found that online symptom checkers displayed the correct diagnosis was one of the top three options on the list only half the time. Only showing the possibility of the correct diagnosis of about 15% of the time. The negative impact of self-diagnosing poses a greater threat as taking the wrong medication can alter your brains chemical makeup distorting your personality. Even worse is completely missing a physical illness masquerading as a psychological one. “If you assume you have depression and treat it with an over-the-counter preparation, you may completely miss a medical syndrome.”, Dr. Pillay.
Medical professionals are paid to improve health standards based on the knowledge acquired and developed through the ages. Where self-diagnosis symptoms are not something to be completely abstained from, the outcome they provide should not be used as a definitive fact. “These tools may be useful in patients who are trying to decide whether they should get to a doctor quickly,” states senior author and associate professor of health care at Harvard Medical School, Ateev Mehrotra, “But, in many cases, users should be cautious and not take the information they receive from online symptom checkers as gospel.”. The disclosure on the Stone Clinic, a private health care center dedicated to researching technological advances in joint care and human performance, website further states, “If you’re not sure what might be wrong with your joints, our self-diagnosis tool…is a good place to start. It won’t replace a real doctor and cannot give a definitive diagnosis, but it may help you better understand your symptoms.”, These two quotes underline the entire argument. These symptom checkers should be used as a way to better understand what is going on with oneself and to better aid in the pursuit of the appropriate medical personnel. Searching for symptoms online cannot Word choice! be used to give a definitive diagnosis as symptoms constantly overlap. A quick search on a headache can give you a diagnosis of a migraine or a brain hemorrhage. Sudden shifts in behavior, mood, and personality contend look like bipolar disorder, which is also associated with mood swings and irrational behavior. These symptom checkers are merely for reference and not to be used as “Gospel” in the words of senior author Ateev Mehrotra.
Only the person who is currently going through the symptoms can accurately relay that information to a doctor and it is up to them to convey the severity to said medical personnel. Searching for symptoms online is a great way to get a baseline understanding of what is going on in your own body but taking the authority from the doctor and have them bend to your will not help. Neither will try a self-administered treatment without a definitive diagnosis. Search for your symptoms online, go to a medical professional that you can trust, get diagnosed, get diagnosed again if needed be for the assurance, and get help in the right way.
(writing this paper was a tad more difficult than the last two. I had to make a compelling claim, present my argument, present counters claims of the same caliber to my claims, and then a rebuttal. The hardest part of the essay was my counter-claims as a had to do actual research for those which had me finding people and conducting interviews with them. my first draft was just papers to be turned in and I really didn’t care much for the flow of the paper as long as my writing followed the general direction I wanted it to. For the final draft, I just had to fix my grammatical errors and sentence structures to make my paper flow better. Overall, I’m more used to writing argumentive essays so I didn’t really change my style of writing in any drastic ways. Due to this my outlines and drafts are basically unreadable to another person other than me which is not a good thing since we’re graded on those.
I’m proud of the amount of research I was able to do for this more ap as I typically shy away from doing interviews with strangers and physical books as just finding information on the internet is much easier. But, I found one great quote for my counter-claims, then found the doctor of that quote, then found the co-worker of that doctor for an interview and to get her input on my issue. Now I’m just waiting for the end of the semester because I’m tired of writing.)
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“Self Diagnosis Symptom Checker.” The Stone Clinic, 12 Oct. 2018, www.stoneclinic.com/knee-self-diagnosis.