Misdiagnosed depression is more common than you might think. Not only, but also many conditions have similar symptoms of depression, such as issues sleeping, sluggishness, and fatigue. So, this unfortunate situation is not all that surprising if you think about it. The problem is that this false diagnosis means that the depression is not being treated, which can cause all kinds of problems.
In fact the list of conditions that can look like signs and symptoms of depression is surprisingly long. To emphasize diagnosis as Anemia, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and fibromyalgia. As a matter of fact, all somatic (as opposed to mental health) conditions with symptoms that overlap with depression. As if that weren’t enough, mental health conditions like ADHD, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can often be misdiagnosed as depression, too.
Prevalence of misdiagnosis for example, anemia (lack of healthy blood cells) can cause fatigue and weakness, which also shows up in depression. Hypothyroidism can cause tiredness, leading to sleeplessness, and brain fog, which are again symptoms of depression. These conditions also another sign that are not symptomatic of depression, though, but the overlap is there and that makes misdiagnosis a very real possibility.
First, second, third It might be easy to blame your doctor for getting diagnoses wrong. But sometimes this happens because the doctor’s specialization and experience lead them to misguided diagnosis. If you—as a parent/caregiver or a patient—feel that something is off with the results given to you my primary care doctor or therapist. By all means getting a second opinion might be a good idea.
There’s also the opportunity that the previous diagnosis is not wrong, but that depression is also a factor. In other words, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be sure. At the same time, though, studies have found that African Americans are less likely to be diagnosed with depression due to systemic racial disparities in the medical system.
There’s the very unfortunate tendency for African Americans patients with severe psychiatric disorders misdiagnosed with depression. To need to have more severe, debilitating mental illness before they are diagnosed. That is extremely concerning. As a parent or caregiver, though, it is also important to be open to the possibility of your teen having depression.
Misdiagnosed Depression in Adolescents
Due to the stigma surrounding mental health, too many people would prefer a diagnosis of any number of other conditions. They understand how those can be treated, after all. Mental health is less understood, and many people blame themselves for their child having depression.
Diagnosis and treatment depression are as much a health concern as any somatic condition, though. It may take some getting used to and require a change in mindset, but parents and other caregivers need to be able to set aside their misgivings. Your child or teen may not “look” depressed, might be constantly smiling, or even angry all the time.
Those are common masking techniques that people (including children and teens) use to hide their true feelings. In other words, be misdiagnosed pay attention to your child. Is their low mood unchanged even after starting medication for another condition? Do they still have symptoms like lack of interest in fun activities, feelings of worthlessness, or thoughts of suicide?
Then perhaps it is a good idea to see a mental health professional who would be better equipped to diagnose depression and other mental health issues. All things consider nonetheless of what is happening with your child. They need your support and understanding. This might mean fighting the stigma within yourself so that you can provide what they need. There is no shame in having depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition.
Don’t blame yourself. Instead, make any changes you need to make the home environment a safe place for your child. Listen to them, talk to them. Let them know you are not judging them for how they are feeling. They are experienced enough of that in the outside world. It is important for you to know when in doubt get a second opinion. And get treatment.