Home Health What Does a Mental Health Diagnosis Look Like? 
mental health diagnosis

What Does a Mental Health Diagnosis Look Like? 

by Martha Simmonds
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Sometimes we know our brains struggle to cope with the world around us. Finding the specific diagnosis that causes our symptoms can be challenging. Sometimes it can be difficult to name our struggles because many have overlapping symptoms.

Yet, taking the time and effort to receive an accurate diagnosis can help us decide on the most suitable course of action. The more we know, the easier it will be to work with a mental health professional. We will also understand what our symptoms mean and how we can create systems and support networks that work for us. 

How Are Mental Illnesses Diagnosed? 

The American Psychiatric Society’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) covers the exact symptoms of each mental condition. This manual is used by insurance companies and mental health professionals to detect and treat mental diseases. We may need a physical exam to rule out physical disorders that might cause our symptoms.

Our doctors may also order lab tests. Typically, we will be subjected to a psychological evaluation in which a doctor or mental health expert will interview us about our symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behavioral patterns. To answer these questions, we may be requested to complete a questionnaire.

What Does an Anxiety Diagnosis Mean? 

Anxiety is intense, overwhelming, and ongoing anxiety and fear about ordinary events. Rapid heart rate, fast breathing, sweating, and tiredness may occur. During stressful events such as public speaking or passing an exam, anxiety is common.

When sensations become overwhelming, all-consuming and interfere with everyday functioning, we may get an anxiety diagnosis. To diagnose an anxiety disorder, a doctor will do a physical exam, inquire about our symptoms, and often do a few blood tests. This is to see whether another illness, like hypothyroidism, could be causing our symptoms. The doctor may also inquire about any drugs we are currently taking. Counseling or antidepressants are often used in treating anxiety.

What Does a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Diagnosis Mean? 

Borderline personality disorder, also known as BPD or emotional dysregulation disorder, is a mental illness marked by unpredictable moods, behavior, and relationships. The cause of borderline personality disorder is unknown. Symptoms are used to diagnose.

Emotional instability, feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, impulsivity, and damaged social connections are all symptoms. If someone we know has been diagnosed with BPD, they may benefit from talk therapy and, in some cases, medication. If the BPD symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be necessary. 

What Does a Depression Diagnosis Mean? 

Depression is a very common mental illness. It is estimated that 5% of the world’s population suffer from it. Depression is marked by continuous unhappiness and loss of interest or pleasure in formerly rewarding or pleasurable activities.

Tiredness and a lack of attention are also frequent symptoms of depression. If we are struggling with depression, we know that depression is challenging to live with, especially when our symptoms are severe. Adopting healthy habits can make our mental health battle easier. There is no shame in asking for professional help with depression if we need it.

What Does an Eating Disorder Diagnosis Mean? 

Eating disorders are a group of mental illnesses characterized by persistent disruptions in eating behavior and impairment of physical or mental health. Eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, are characterized by abnormal eating and food obsession. T

he symptoms or behaviors cause severe health risk or harm, significant distress, or significant impairment in functioning. Anorexia typically begins in youth or early adulthood and is associated to premature mortality from medical issues or suicide. If we suffer from bulimia, we are also at a much higher risk of drug abuse, suicidality, and health issues. There are effective therapeutic methods available for an eating disorder, like cognitive-based therapy.

What Does a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Diagnosis Mean? 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health illness caused by watching or experiencing a scary incident. Flashbacks, nightmares, and acute anxiety, as well as uncontrolled thoughts about the incident, may be symptoms.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, we must have re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, negative mood and cognitive changes, and hyperarousal symptoms that last for at least a month. Therapy for PTSD consists of several forms of trauma-focused psychotherapy and symptom-management medications.

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