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You Are More Than A Diagnosis

Getting a diagnosis of a mental illness can undoubtedly be intimidating, overwhelming, and nerve-wracking to say the least. You may find yourself feeling labeled or stigmatized. Maybe you don’t even know how you feel about it because of the millions of thoughts and questions that come along with the diagnosis, or maybe you have had a diagnosis for a while but are feeling overwhelmed by it. We are here to tell you that your diagnosis does not define you. Surely it can feel that way when you are going through rounds of trial and error trying to find the right treatment, or when you feel held back due to the fear and stigma that our society has placed on mental health in general. Your feelings are valid, but we want to talk just a little more about what your diagnosis really means. 

Getting diagnosed with a mental illness could mean a lot of things, and every diagnosis is unique. Although it may feel like some of the things mentioned above, there is much more to it. First, you cannot cause your diagnosis. You may wonder things like “what am I doing wrong?” or “how did this happen?”. It is not your fault. A diagnosis often comes from a variety of sources and factors, primarily from your brain chemistry, biology, and genetics. Of course, environmental and social factors play a role too. However, more likely, you have some sort of chemical or hormonal imbalance, or genetic predisposition. With that being said, in addition to other forms of support, many diagnoses need the help of medicine to improve those imbalances physiologically. 

Additionally, specific diagnoses help both medical and mental health professionals determine the appropriate course of treatment. Since every diagnosis varies in terms of how it manifests and the imbalances it may cause, treatments will also vary. Some medications target or inhibit specific neurotransmitters that may be suppressed by the condition. Treatments for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) may look a lot different from those for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Another point is that no two individuals, even with the same disorder, will have the same imbalances. Everyone’s genetic and biological makeup is different so their treatments will be different. This is why medical and psychiatric research examining how certain medications or interventions may be useful for certain types of DNA  is so crucial in helping the improvement of these diagnoses, and this research is rising rapidly. 

For those who feel overwhelmed, just know that you are more than your diagnosis, more than a label. As mentioned above, a diagnosis, though it is often daunting, can actually be positive in a sense because it allows professionals to be able to better tailor care and treatment to each individual. If you have a diagnosis and are struggling to find effective treatment, we may be able to help! Click here to learn more about our research studies or call 610-891-7200 for more information.



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