About diagnosis

It must be extremelly difficult to diagnose a person with mental illness. The symptoms are very wide and if they occur in short time frames it’s even more difficult to diagnose.

We must not be to hard on our pdocs in terms of diagnosis, if they are professionals about treatment. If they are incompetent, that’s another issue.

But it must be incredibly hard to diagnose mental illness.


Every job is difficult. I don’t see why we should cut psychiatrists any slack. Most of them would have been fired long ago if they were in other jobs.

I’m just saying, if the treatment is correct we shouldn’t focus so much on the label.

I agree getting the right treatment is key. But there are times when a diagnosis is required for buerocratic reasons. This can be difficult if the pdoc won’t commit to anything.

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I for one don’t really care about if I’m sza or paranoid sz, as long as the meds work.

Dunno. The treatment depends on the diagnosis. If you’re in the early stages of schizophrenia and get diagnosed with depression, you’ll get prescribed anti-depressants instead of anti psychotics.

These people get paid to diagnose. I wish it was easier to fire bad doctors. But it’s not.


I agree with you on that. Happened to me exactly that, given that the doctor didn’t even stay in the consultation and was the intern that was asking the questions. I was psychotic, talking gibberish and was prescribed an antidepressant.

The other three pdocs I consulted with though, the diagnosis difered between psz and sza.

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What happened? Did you take the anti depressants?

No, I refused. I went with my uncle that is a GP and he said it was ludacris, because he knew I was psychotic. I just thought I was fine.

Wow! You were lucky. Like I said, I wish it was easier to fire bad doctors.

I talked about that specific psychiatrist to the one on the hospital and he told me he was known for misdiagnosis. Refered me to another one, who he was sure I would have the right treatment, and she was the one that changed my diagnosis to sza.

I look at diagnosis as just a vague outline to give a pdoc a general idea of where to begin prescribing medications. Otherwise the medications used to treat sz would be more standardized. Psychology is still an imprecise science. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the field. They say the next century is going to be “the century of the brain”, where they will get the trillions of neural connections in the brain mapped out. It will take a while. It certainly raises some sticky philosophical questions to think that we can manipulate our grey matter to produce desirable outcomes in the brain. What if they could manipulate your brain to make you a Mozart? Or an Isaac Newton? What if they could manipulate your brain to give you a blind obedience to authority, so that you will be a good soldier? The possibilities are endless.


In my case, I was left to my own devices without a proper diagnosis. There are many reasons for this, and I can’t blame the doctors and therapists until about four years ago when I actively sought a proper diagnosis. It wasn’t for the right meds, it was so I could identify the monster that has been tormenting me. When I finally was diagnosed with schizophrenia it was right, after 36 years of wrong. Getting the right diagnosis was extremely important for me. I had been dealing with symptoms and ambiguity and having a target, a specific focus has helped me immeasurably. Knowledge is power.


Whilst I agree in theory that good treatment is more important than an actual diagnosis the reality is that what treatment you get is often dictated by the diagnosis you are given rather than the symptoms you present with.
If you are diagnosed with a personality disorder for example it is often assumed that medication is superfluous. This as much points to PDs being seen as more the sphere of psychologists than pdocs in an artificial dividing up of territory. I am unusual in that respect in that my treatment is an atypical depot rather than talk therapy.
Having said that I do think some medications are more multi purpose than they used to be. For example there is a body of evidence that atypical antipsychotics have antidepressant ,anti manic and antipsychotic properties and are suitable for use across diagnostic categories.


The time I got diagnosed was a very odd time… The head circus was stronger then the life outside my head…

Sure the doc could say the words Schizophrenia, but that didn’t mean I knew anything about what that meant.

Not sure I really even believed it at the time. I was mad at the world… and I was mad at my doc and my family.

These days… I think I’m a little more angry at some the prognosis I got when I was at my worst. I began to let it define who I was.

It took a lot of work for me to break out that… not let Sz become my identity. That’s just me


I agree with you in totality @firemonkey

@Hedgehog I agree that in your case it might be important to pinpoint the cause of your issues with a diagnosis, as it is in all our cases. What I mean by this post is that sometimes we take for granted that we are being misdiagnosed or our symptoms fit in several categories and it’s not easy to give a simple diagnose. I can agree in my case to sza, but I can also have bipolar with psychotic features or paranoid sz with mood element. Who knows? My doctors try their best with the tools they have, it’s what I’m saying.

But again, I feel previlegded to have a good treatment team sometimes when I read what others go through.

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I was just sharing my bit, @Minnii, and not meaning to contradict anyone. :blush: I’m old now and went through so much. I wonder what an accurate diagnosis at 13, at 18, at 22, 32, 40…would have made. No one can say. When I was finally properly diagnosed it made so much sense. It gave form to my phantom who haunted me. I meant to just add to your post that, aside from the medication, the knowledge of what we’re dealing with is additionally beneficial.

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Oh I’m sorry, didn’t mean to make your post invalid at all. Thought it was a miscommunication. Sorry. Very valid point, and I agree diagnosis are important.

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my father and I have schizoaffective disorder and my brother has bipolar with psychotic features. I’ve always wondered how do psychiatrists tell the difference. I hate when people try to play psychiatrist. “you’re on too much medication” , then when explained what schizoaffective disorder is, “you don’t have that bipolar people are really angry”, it’s like whatever I know what doctor said.

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