Despite all the advances in medical science and technology, diagnosis remains as much art as it is science. While some medical illnesses can be diagnosed with a blood test or MRI, too many illnesses, both medical and mental, share common symptoms. When a doctor’s diagnosis relies on the symptoms that the patient reports, there’s unfortunate room for error.
It’s always advisable to rule out medical causes for symptoms that are routinely thought of as psychological. For example, such symptoms as fatigue, sadness, anxiety and irritability can also point to an underlying medical condition.
Some the most common misdiagnoses attribute a person’s symptoms as evidence of depression. Among the medical conditions that can be wrongly diagnosed as depression include:
Fatigue, trouble concentrating and moodiness are common symptoms of hypothyroidism that could lead you to think you are depressed.
Fatigue, irritability and weight loss can all signal depression, but these symptoms are also indicators of Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Depressive symptoms can also indicate the stress of living with a chronic health condition.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Fatigue, difficulty concentrating and trouble sleeping could point to chronic fatigue syndrome rather than depression.
Although hallucinations are commonly associated with schizophrenia, medical conditions such as brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy can all cause hallucinations as well.
Palpitations, sweaty palms and tremors could indicate an anxiety disorder or a panic attack, but these symptoms can also point to a neuroendocrine tumor.
The bottom line is that diagnosis of both medical and mental illnesses is complex, and medical conditions should be ruled out before making a diagnosis of mental illness.
At Saginaw Psychiatry, we’re committed to the wellbeing of both body and mind. As even a short list of common misdiagnoses of medical problems as mental illnesses shows, the connection between body and mind is complex.
If you have symptoms that are difficult to diagnose, contact us to schedule an appointment.