Is Diagnosis Useful?

Just two days ago, my counsellor said that they do not personally find diagnoses useful. I always knew this was a thing, however never really agreed with it. So I have decided to fully go through the pro’s and con’s of the two, to understand where this concept is coming from.

For me a diagnosis of depression was useful, it made me feel as if it was something that was fixable. Without a diagnosis, my brain thought that whatever state it was in was normal. It made me feel as if I was just not coping, rather than that there was something wrong.  Personally, I feel like diagnosis gives you a sense of belonging. Like you finally have a group that you fit in with. A diagnosis can help you understand yourself better.

However, when researching this topic, it seems that most people seem to view diagnosis in a negative way. Avoiding giving patients a diagnosis isn’t limited to the field of mental health. People can get angry if they find out their doctor told their lovely grandma that she had ‘heart failure’. Those words can cause a lot of anxiety. But treatment wise that is the diagnosis. However, is the problem with the diagnosis, or is it the words and therefore the way the patient might get the wrong idea. If it was renamed would the diagnosis be more acceptable?

Where is the cutoff point where someone gets “diagnosed”, people who never go get treatment will never officially be diagnosed, however, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have that certain condition or disease. There are a lot of people that walk around with undiagnosed type two diabetes.

People just don’t want things to become real, but the problem is it’s already real. Just because you don’t have a depression diagnosis doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing it.

People don’t want to be labelled, but you can’t stop people from labelling you. People will always label people. It’s just how we like to do things.  But do we really have the problem with the label? Or should we be working on how people view that label?


One thought on “Is Diagnosis Useful?

  1. As I think of it, I don’t think I ever was given an actual diagnosis. Or perhaps I was given several: dysthymia, clinical depression, double depression, major depressive disorder. I heard all of those words from my doctors (though some of that may be due to the re-naming of the condition by the “authorities” who decide these things). I was in treatment, so regardless of what name was/was not applied, I seemed to have some condition. I agree that being labeled meant that I could look more objectively at my state of mind (“this isn’t normal!”), and I did feel like part of a group. But after a while, I didn’t want to be part of that group. It seemed to feed itself rather than be a collection of people helping each other. But I’ve always been solo in most endeavors. Is that my nature or caused by my depression? Or is that the same thing any more?


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