While most of these sites mean well, this is a slippery slope for parents. Here's why:
Let's take ADHD for example. One of the hallmark symptoms of this condition is difficulty concentrating. To the untrained eye, this could mean a number of things, and if the parent is already on a self diagnosis style website, they are likely already searching for something that may not even exist.
So if we tell our kids to stop doing something, and they don't mind us, is that a sign that the child has difficulty concentrating? Perhaps. But there is also the possibility that your child is just being cantankerous. There is an ocean of difference between ADHD and your child acting up.
Another sign of ADHD is the inability to sit still. This, to the untrained eye, can be open to interpretation as well. If your child has no trouble sitting still through their favorite Saturday morning cartoon, but come Monday can't sit still through the multiplication tables (because this bores them), that isn't necessarily ADHD, though the school will likely try to tell you otherwise. ADHD is an organic disorder, and organic disorders don't pick and choose when they will show themselves. Organic disorders just are, regardless of the environmental stimuli.
Misinterpreting symptoms is one thing, but diagnosing something when it is better explained by the presence of something else is a whole different ballgame.
What if your child has an unknown head injury or other unknown medical condition? What if they are doing drugs and you don't know? If they are younger, perhaps they are experiencing some type of autism spectrum disorder or a sensory perception disorder or an anxiety problem or some other type of emotional problem.
Misdiagnosis can be a crucial mistake. And if you take your misdiagnosed criteria to your family doctor (who does not specialize in mental illness) you are likely to be walking out with a prescription for some type of ADHD stimulant, that could very well cause more problems than they solve.
Point is, don't make the mistake of trying to diagnose your children or those you love or yourself, and do not leave your interpretations up to your family doctor who is not properly trained in mental illness. Psychiatric diagnoses should only be given by someone whose specialty it is to diagnose. You will want to look for a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Ph.D. Psychologist, or an M.D. Psychiatrist. That's it. The teacher, the school counselor, the family doctor, your pastor or priest... these guys mean well, but it is in your family's best interest to seek out the opinion of an expert.
Even if you don't suspect that anything is wrong, we recommend mental health checkups once every six months. Getting to the bottom of problems before they get out of the hand is the best way to combat mental illness, and making sure that everyone has a chance to pursue happiness as they see fit.
Anything else is taking an unneeded risk.
| || |