Categories / 
ABA therapy
/
What are the problems with self-diagnosing autism?

What are the problems with self-diagnosing autism?

No matter the age - child or adult - a self-diagnosis of autism simply isn’t ideal. This isn’t to say it’s impossible, of course. Having said that, the simple fact remains that a self-diagnosis causes problems.

What are some of the problems with the self-diagnosis of autism? An important fact to consider is that the self-diagnosis of autism can lead to people with autism not having access to medications that are only available from an official diagnosis. Additionally, self-diagnosis results are also often not accurate.

Few problems with the self-diagnosis of autism:

  • Emotional irregularities may lead to a misdiagnosis
  • A self-diagnosis does not give access to medication
  • It is possible to misunderstand symptoms of autism
  • Self-diagnosis should be followed by a professional opinion

These points will be discussed in more detail below. It’s important, of course, that even after a self-diagnosis, one seeks professional medical help and a professional diagnosis.

What makes self-diagnosing autism difficult?

Self-diagnosing autism, although it may seem like a good idea at first, has valid problems which need to be considered. These problems shouldn’t be ignored and should be considered when attempting to make a self-diagnosis because self-diagnosing can be extremely difficult.

For starters, clinically trained doctors have the training, skill sets, and medical information required in order to decide and diagnose someone who may have autism. Because there are several other disorders that have similar symptoms and ailments like autism, this can lead to a misdiagnosis if not careful.

Trying to form an autism diagnosis can be difficult because there is no specific scientific test. There is no medical formula or blood test which can determine if someone has autism. Whereas diseases can be diagnosed through concrete scientific means, autism does not have this quality.

A medical professional will study multiple aspects of childhood, development, adulthood, and interactions in order to form their opinion. Keep in mind that there’s no “magical procedure” to figure out if you or someone you know may have autism. The best thing you can do is to see a doctor.

Ultimately, this is the way to remove the difficulties of a self-diagnosis and provide the clarity needed for an accurate diagnosis.

Reasons why it can be harmful to self-diagnose

Self-diagnosing isn’t only difficult, it can also be harmful to self-diagnose. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, but it’s important to realize the harm that can come from a self-diagnosis - either accurate or inaccurate - of autism.

One of the biggest difficulties of an autism self-diagnosis is that it can lead to a misunderstood ailment or issue. Think of it this way - there are several dysregulation issues that can have similar manifestations as autism. Because of this, if one doesn’t consider all of the aspects of their self-diagnosis and fails to diagnose themselves accurately, they may believe they have autism while in reality, they have another issue entirely.

Another major difficulty of an autism self-diagnosis is that a self-diagnosis will not put you in the position to receive medication and medical help. Even if a self-diagnosis is accurate, the only way to officially determine this is by allowing a doctor or qualified medical professional to diagnose autism.

And if the only diagnosis someone has is a self-diagnosis, then they won’t be able to receive the treatment and medicine they need to receive. Because of this, it is encouraged to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional even after a self-diagnosis.

How accurate is it to self-diagnose autism?

A common question many people have is how accurate it is to self-diagnose autism. After all, if it’s similarly accurate to tests by a medical professional, why seek medical help at all? With this being said, of course, many fail to see the benefits of self-diagnosis even beyond the lower accuracy of the self-diagnosis when compared to a professional diagnosis.

According to the National Library of Medicine, self-diagnosis tests are roughly 80% accurate, with some dipping to around 75% or lower. Although these tests do seem to be reasonably accurate, the discrepancy is large enough that it can cause valid issues for those who self-diagnose inaccurately.

The self-diagnosis trend is dangerous

Although the self-diagnosis of autism can be relatively safe in proper circumstances where the self-diagnoser seeks professional medical help after a diagnosis, it’s important to consider that the current trends of self-diagnosis often do not lead to this proper choice of medical help sought.

Many children who are exposed to these trends may have movement disorders, emotional disorders, or other issues which manifest themselves in a similar manner to autism and similar diseases which require a professional diagnosis.

Children between the ages of 11 and 17 are extremely susceptible to trends and the influence of media consumption. Because of this, these children may be convinced of an inaccurate diagnosis that is presented to them through social platforms.

This, of course, is dangerous and can lead to many undesired events. It’s always encouraged for children - and adults - who believe they have autism to seek a professional medical diagnosis. Social media is unable to provide an accurate self-diagnosis for disorders like autism.

Keep in mind, of course, that although the autism tests are 80% accurate, self-diagnoses that do not rely on any sort of testing method are even less accurate, and although many of the self-diagnosers may have a legitimate ailment, it is oftentimes not related to the diagnosis made in any way, which deprives them of the medication they need.

Clearing things up

Overall, there are many problems with self-diagnosis of autism. Obviously, these self-diagnoses can be accurate in some instances, but even so, that doesn’t mean that a self-diagnosis should be treated as the end-all.

Even in the case of a self-diagnosis being accurate, it can cause issues due to the inability of the diagnoser to receive proper medical support and medication.

It’s also important that self-diagnosing can be difficult, inaccurate, and extremely problematic in many cases.

Because of this, it is ultimately important for children, adults, and everyone in-between to seek the advice of a medical professional in their journey of discovery. If they have autism, then the official diagnosis will provide clarity and medication.

With that being said, of course, if the diagnosis reveals another issue that can be treated with different medications or treatments then this will also prove to be beneficial.

Other articles from Forta

5 ways to prevent behavioral outbursts in children with autism
Read more
Weighted vests for children with autism
Read more
Advice for siblings of children with autism
Read more

Heading

Heading