Driven by various motivations, many Internet users seek an answer to their troubles online, from new influencers in mental health. But can self-diagnosis with an online test really help you?
“Am I high potential?”, “Does my son suffer from attention disorders?”, “Could it be depression?”… On the web and in search engines, these questions have flourished since mental health emerged as a public health priority. And surprised! Many online tests today claim to give you some answers. Practical or deceptive?
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Self-diagnosis, a trend that is exploding on the networks
Since the Covid crisis, topics devoted to mental health have logically exploded on all networks and the hashtag #autodiagnosis has gained millions of views, especially on TikTok, when it is associated with #ADHD (attention disorder with or without hyperactivity ), #bipolardisorder (bipolar disorder), #HPI (high intellectual potential), #autism (autism), #depression or #anxiety.
With them, a whole new range of influencers is exposed: people directly or indirectly affected by these disorders who tell their story, share their tips and often offer benchmarks and tests to find out if you too are concerned. A real social phenomenon!
A craze that can be explained by different reasons
Other current reasons also explain this enthusiasm. For psychologist Michael Stora quoted in the pages of 20 Minutes, “there is currently a ‘glamorization’ of mental health. Showing that we suffer, that we are different, is a way of showing that we exist, and ultimately of saying ”love me”. And with the economic model of social networks, we very quickly come to a race for likes” explains this one.
For Dr. Emanuel Loeb, psychiatrist contacted by TipsForWomens, we can also mention the reluctance of people to go see a psychiatrist in general, associated with the problem of access to care for those who would be ready to push the door of a practice. And these tests have the advantage of giving a quick response without even having to move. But are they reliable?
Support, largely absent from these online solutions
Is it necessary for having leaked these diagnoses online? For our psychiatrist, the question does not arise in this way. “That these new health influencers use the networks to talk about a disorder itself can have a good side and can especially “de-stigmatize” psychiatric disorders, that’s a good thing. You still have to find yourself in reality. And in the psy field, there are currently no biomarkers, biological examination or imaging to make a diagnosis. This is done by a clinical evaluation, supplemented in the case of HPI or ADHD by a neuropsychological assessment.
Online self-diagnosis, if it reassures or worries, does not therefore provide the guarantees allowing a real diagnosis to be made. But the very approach raises questions for our expert: “Even if you have a problem and have a diagnosis, you must also be able to talk about care. Because without appropriate support provided by a professional, how are you going to move forward? Who is going to help you get better?”.
So there’s no harm in getting interested in a mental health topic on social media. But if it is really a question of finding answers concerning you, turn to a health professional.