I haven’t been diagnosed. Where do I begin?
According to NAMI, one out of every five adults in the US experiences mental illness in a given year. They also cite this unfortunate statistic: “Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.”
For one reason or another, there seems to be a delay between the time when people first notice themselves showing signs of a mental health condition and when they actually get help. Reasons for this delay vary and include fear of social stigma, fear of future life or health insurance complications, lack of healthcare coverage, and fear of being subjected to a treatment plan that is against ones own philosophy of healing.
Here’s my input regarding this issue: having a diagnosis or a name to call the group of symptoms you are experiencing makes it far easier to tease out the cause and to address the underlying issue in order to move you closer to optimal mental wellness. Regarding the fear of being subjected to a treatment plan you don’t agree with, here are the facts: when it comes to deciding what to do with your body, as long as you are fully able to make your own decisions and unless you are a danger to yourself or to others, you have the right to choose how you address any health concerns that surface throughout your lifetime, whether they are physical or mental.
If you feel that you may have an undiagnosed mental illness, I encourage you to do your research. Seek out a competent physician who will truly listen to your concerns and treat you with compassion or get a referral from your primary care doctor to see a psychiatrist who is skilled in making these diagnoses. Read reviews on each practitioner you consider seeing. Before your appointment, write down a list of questions you’d like answered regarding your diagnosis and potential treatment options and ask these questions at your appointment. Educating yourself is a very important part of addressing your mental health and receiving the care you deserve in order to obtain optimal health.
I Haven't Been Diagnosed. Where Do I Begin?
This page will be the resource center for individuals who believe that they may have an undiagnosed mental health condition. I want to ensure that you feel that your concerns are being heard and that you have the resources you need in order to help your loved ones receive the best care possible. If you can think of any, please leave a comment below letting me know what resources you, as an individual who believes they may have an undiagnosed mental health condition, need to obtain optimal health. I’ll see what we can do and post all new resources on this page (in addition to placing them on the Resources page, of course) so that you can see all of the resources pertaining to this topic in one location.