TikTok leads people to self-diagnose mental health issues

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) – Social media platform TikTok is known for its short, usually comical videos.

Now mental health professionals say they’re seeing TikTok users, especially teens and young adults, self-diagnosing in videos about mental health disorders like anxiety or ADHD.

Dr Robin Hawks, professor of psychology and social services at Blue Ridge Community College, said it was important to get a diagnosis through a mental health professional.

“If you try to self-diagnose yourself, you can misdiagnose yourself and therefore you seek the wrong treatment or you don’t seek treatment at all because you don’t know what you have,” Hawks said.

Hawks said it’s important to remember that medical professionals have a lot of training, especially when it comes to diagnostics.

“What happens is that a lot of times people look at a really simple list and think, ‘Oh, I have this whole list’ and think, ‘Oh, I must be depressed’ if it’s a problem. list on depression, but the diagnosis is much more complicated than that, ”Hawks said.

The videos on TikTok often provide these lists. The “Put a finger down” challenges ask viewers to “put a finger down” if they experience a symptom.

Often times, the video ends with the conclusion that if you put more than a few fingers down, you have a specific mental health issue.

“Many disorders are on a normal to abnormal continuum, and it is this professional who will help you determine when your symptoms are shifting to an abnormal level,” Hawks said.

While self-diagnosis is bad, mental health awareness is a really good thing, and TikTok is bringing it to the table.

“They go online and see this information about mental health issues, it can be really good because it can raise awareness that there maybe a problem that they need to look out for,” Hawks said.

It becomes a problem when the person identifies with a diagnosis and does not seek help, she said. On top of that, social media can often downplay serious conditions.

“People can actually get really taken with these videos and the social media part and normalize what’s going on in their lives that shouldn’t be normalized,” Hawks said.

If you think you have a mental health problem, contact a professional.

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