This blog shares 3 reasons for why your teen may be self-diagnosing. Self-diagnosing is defined as the process of diagnosing or identifying a condition within yourself. Recently, self-diagnosing various psychiatric disorders has become common on popular social media apps like TikTok. While this can bring a sense of comfort to your teen, it can do more harm than good if their actual symptoms are not properly identified and treated.
Popular videos that contribute to self-diagnosing include those that list out various symptoms of a specific psychiatric disorder, such as ADHD or borderline personality disorder. While some teens may find themselves relating to the symptoms, it’s important to keep in mind that some disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, can not be properly diagnosed until they are at least 18 years old.
The length, severity, and types of symptoms needs to be documented by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or counselor. There are key criterias that need to be met for an official diagnosis. For instance, only having 4-6 symptoms, when in reality the diagnosis needs them to exhibit all 8 symptoms, would make them not eligible to receive a certain diagnosis.
There are also chances of comorbid disorders, which means that an individual may struggle with more than one psychiatric disorder at a time.
Symptoms of ADHD can mimic those of borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and other mental health diagnoses, therefore it’s essential to connect with a mental health professional to validate any diagnoses.
If your teen is self-diagnosing, it could be a sign that it’s time to seek out support from mental health professionals. They may be struggling with severe symptoms, whether it is evident or not. By starting your teen in teen therapy or group therapy, they can begin to find the answers and solutions they need.
Teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides your teen with a non-judgmental space to talk about any concerns around their symptoms.
We work to involve the parents and family members in the therapeutic process to ensure that everyone is supported in their own unique way.
Why Your Teen May Be Self-Diagnosing: Seeking to find explanation for how they are feeling
Your teen may be self-diagnosing to find an explanation for how they are feeling. Navigating friendships, school, relationships, home life, and their own experiences can be challenging. They may be struggling to understand what is going on in their mind, and why they feel a certain way.
It can be distressing to go through life not understanding your feelings or experiences more fully or in-depth. Suicidal thoughts, thoughts to harm yourself, or harm others can be very alarming. There may also be thoughts of negative self-talk, such as telling themselves they are worthless or annoying.
One last example is if your teen struggles with focusing and concentrating in school settings. This causes great frustration as they can easily get off-task and become distracted. They may zone out during conversations, and not realize it until they are prompted to respond to someone. In all, they’re wanting to explain these behaviors, reactions, and feelings.
Seeking answers and explaining symptoms in an appropriate, professional setting can lead to various types of resolutions. Resolutions can look like the best route of treatment, whether it’s from medication or therapy. They can also identify healthy coping mechanisms for managing their symptoms, as well as navigating stressors in life.
Teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA helps your teen understand where their symptoms are coming from. They may not be sure how to label or identify their symptoms, therefore a professional can guide them to having a more clear picture.
It’s important to not write off any symptoms of struggling as simply “teenage angst”, as this can prevent your teen from benefiting from the proper form of treatment and self-exploration.
Why Your Teen May Be Self-Diagnosing: Seeking to find community with those who experience similar symptoms
Your teen may be self-diagnosing to find community with those who experience similar symptoms. They may not find that anyone can truly understand how they are feeling. Your teen may be able to share a glimpse into their experiences with others, but do not feel that anyone can relate to them.
When they are able to find teens who are struggling with similar symptoms, it can feel comforting knowing they are not alone. When faced with adversity and roadblocks, especially in school settings or within themselves, they can feel misunderstood.
In group therapy settings, teens are often paired together when struggling with similar symptoms. This can look like various teens struggling with depression, substance abuse, low self-esteem, anxiety, or recovering from a trauma. These environments can provide teens with a sense of belonging, and show them that they are not outsiders for struggling.
When seeking to find community, they may also find other teens that may share healthy coping skills they personally use to manage certain symptoms. They can build support systems, and strengthen friendships with those who are also seeking to manage their symptoms in healthy ways.
Teens may also simply want an outlet, where they can vent about their symptoms and the complexity of navigating life with them. It’s important to feel not only heard, but understood. Teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides your teen with a space where they can work with a therapist who understands their distress and discomfort while navigating symptoms.
In teen therapy, we work to involve parents and family members to ensure everyone’s needs are met, and find ways that everyone can grow from the therapeutic process as well.
Why Your Teen May Be Self-Diagnosing: Wanting to establish their identity and understand themselves
Your teen may be wanting to establish their identity and understand themselves. Alongside seeking to find explanations for their symptoms and wanting to find their community, they may want to find a way to accept the way they are feeling or certain personality traits.
It’s important to them to differentiate who they are as a person versus the symptoms they might be experiencing. For instance, teens with ADHD may feel discouraged, thinking “I’m just bad at school”. In reality, they need to understand that “I have a different set of circumstances than others might, and that’s okay”.
There are ways to feel accepting of difficult symptoms, while still not feeling there’s a positive side to them. Coming to terms that you are struggling, but are resilient and can get through it, can help build self-esteem and confidence. By feeling that they can identify and understand their diagnosis, they may be better able to cope with difficulties and seek appropriate support.
Teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA supports teens as they strengthen their ability to self-regulate uncomfortable feelings that may come from their symptoms. There is no judgment in teen therapy sessions, only listening and validation for their struggles.
We may find ourselves taking two steps forward and one step back while trying to cope with our symptoms. Guide yourself with patience, trust, and understanding during this.
In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either.
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.