Five Mental Health Disorders Often Misdiagnosed
- Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventioncite ADHD as the most-commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children under 18. Frequently misdiagnosed as anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression or OCD, ADHD has symptoms that can be easily misread for other mental disorders. Bipolar children seem to display symptoms of ADHD during their “manic” phases, such as restlessness, trouble sleeping and hyperactivity. During “depressed” phases, symptoms such as lack of focus and inattention can resemble those of ADHD.
- Bipolar Disorder
A 2006 study reported that 69 percent of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder are initially misdiagnosed and more than 1/3 remain misdiagnosed for at least 10 years. Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression, or if the patient is showing symptoms of restlessness and insomnia, their condition may be diagnosed as ADHD.
- Borderline Personality Disorder
A complex disorder that is commonly mistaken for bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder has symptoms similar to a wide array of other mental health disorders. It is frequently misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD or depression, due to its symptoms of impulsive behavior or mood swings.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety, emotional numbness, risky behavior and inability to sleep, often mirror those of other mental health problems. If a doctor does not have experience treating PTSD specifically, it is quite common for an incorrect diagnosis of another mental health disorder to occur. In fact, between 2005 and 2007, hundreds of American soldiers with PTSD were misdiagnosed.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., with 18 percent of Americans impacted by an anxiety disorder. Many people with anxiety disorders often believe that their symptoms do not indicate a mental health problem; they are seen simply as a “part of life.” This deters a person from seeing a doctor for their anxiety disorder. However, even if one does visit the doctor for their symptoms, their anxiety disorder may not be diagnosed because symptoms such as sleep issues and inability to concentrate can also be indicative of depression.
WorldCare is piloting a new mental health second opinion service with select clients, which addresses members’ mental health and wellbeing. WorldCare ACCESS Mental Health gives members access to the mental health expertise of leading WorldCare Consortium® psychiatrists, including a team of over 150 psychiatrists from Massachusetts General Hospital, who have long-standing telepsychiatry experience. The pilot service provides an in-depth, multi-disciplinary, institution-based second opinion evaluation of any underlying medical condition by sub-specialists from a top-ranked U.S. hospital of the WorldCare Consortium®, led by a senior psychiatrist at the Consortium® facility, who provides diagnostic clarification and psycho-phamacotherapeutic guidance along with suggestions around counseling interventions and other locally-available therapies.
For more information, please call WorldCare at 866.399.9262 or email us.