Here are some random thoughts of mine on mis-diagnosis. I haven’t got the time to refine my thinking and tweak this post in time for my self-imposed deadline. I’ll look at this tomorrow in the sober light of day and make any needed adjustments.
The APA convention and the Occupy the APA demonstration against the DSM-5 have set many groups like the ISEPP (International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry) to try to come to grips with what is meant by being diagnosed and by being mis-diagnosed. Most of us are struggling to put into words why we think the initial diagnosis is a sham, and what exactly mis-diagnosis implies.
Here’s my take on this. Bear with me. First, let’s consult our common understanding on words and their opposites.
We know that the second word in each column is the botching of the first. If you are mistreated, this means you are not well treated, and if something is mismanaged, it is not well managed.
Many English words beginning with “mis” mean that the original root word has been negated, or mishandled, mistaken, misled, etc.
So, what does this mean for diagnosis and mis-diagnosis?
I believe that my son was correctly diagnosed by the DSM as “schizophrenic.” I also believe that he was mis-diagnosed. When I say mis-diagnosed, I don’t mean that the diagnosis was wrong (he ticked most of the boxes for whatever it is that schizophrenia is supposed to be) – but I believe that the diagnosis was mismanaged, mistreated and mishandled, and I certainly was “misled.”
Once you are diagnosed by psychiatry, then this diagnosis should properly managed, treated, and handled if it is a valid diagnosis to begin with. If you are diagnosed with herpes, for example, the patient should expect proper follow-through, meaning proper care, treatment and cure. If you truly had herpes and you were well treated, your symptoms should clear up.
What does my interpretation say about psychiatric diagnosis? If you are correctly diagnosed, and correctly treated by psychiatry, then your symptoms should disappear. But they generally don’t, do they, under the care of maintream psychiatry?
Mainstream psychiatry will rarely if not ever, admit to a misdiagnosis, because that would imply that they couldn’t manage, treat, or handle, the diagnosis.
Therefore, most of the psychiatrically diagnosed who are still struggling with the label, have been mis-diagnosed, in the spirit of being mistreated, mishandled, mismanaged, etc.