With the prevalence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders, one needs to know… Often, adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders or Asperger’s will suspect that there is something wrong. They will feel it in their bones. They will see the bewildered looks others give them in social situations and know something is wrong. They will find themselves overwhelmed in these same situations, or by sensory input, and they will just know that something is not right… not right inside…
I have stated, quite often, that self diagnosis is not a diagnosis at all. I have taken a lot of heat for my stance on that. I have been called a bully an ass and ignorant for my stance. One response was a direct comment on my blog.
“…what you say here is just wrong. I found out about Aspergers almost be accident, researched it myself, then got a diagnosis – I certainly would not have got this if I had not done all the leg work myself! You have no right to put down people – many who have struggled all their lives with these symptoms – who have found out about this condition themselves and have the courage to face it. This is arrogant and I am afraid downright ignorant!”
I stick by the statement, but I believe, due to the nature of the response that it has provoked, that I need to explain a little bit.
It seems that my words have been interpreted as “Self diagnosis is useless.” Which has never been my intent. I believe that self diagnosis is an important and integral part of the diagnostic process. Based on the opinion of mental health professionals (and not just one, but many of them – and I have worked in the psychiatric field for quite a while), self-diagnosis is the FIRST step. The individual has used layman’s tools to confirm (in their own mind) that they have an Autistm Spectrum Disorder… but using these tools is not the same as a diagnosis.
|Don’t stop… PLEASE keep going!|
Often, people stop there – and that is where I start to take issue with them.
There are a few reasons for this. Self diagnostics are an important step in the process, but a diagnosis by definition can only be made by a medial professionals. According to the Science Dictionary diagnosis is:
“The identification by a medical provider of a condition, disease, or injury made by evaluating the symptoms and signs presented by a patient.”
There are other reasons as well. Let’s talk about treatment. There are comorbid conditions, and some symptoms that can be treated with medication. To procure medication, one needs to have a diagnosis… from a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
Medical Professionals train for 12 years to practice in their chosen fields. 4 years for their bachelors degree, 4 years in med school, and then 4 years in residency… This training is what makes them uniquely qualified to grant a diagnosis. The reason that a diagnosis is so very important is treatment. Treatment plans are tailored to the specific individual and are completely dependent on their… you guessed it… their diagnosis.
Diagnostic criteria often overlap… What does that mean? It means that many different conditions, diseases, and syndromes can and do have similar diagnostic traits. If you don’t believe me, go to the diagnostic tool on webMD some time and try to diagnose something… ANYTHING… it will be a range of thing… a fungal infection, a spider bite and CANCER… tuberculosis, the flue and CANCER… And that is why an official diagnosis is so very important.
Misdiagnosis can be dangerous. Bipolar can be misdiagnosed as Asperger’s. Some of the medications used to treat the anxiety issues associated with Asperger’s Syndrome can cause suicidal thoughts and tendencies, mania and hyper-manic episodes… All of which can be dangerous to the patient and those around them. It can actually cause brain damage. Further, the the cognitive behavioral training required for normalization and socialization of Autistic Spectrum Individuals needs to be tailored to the individual. If the wrong treatment program is applied (as is common in a self diagnosis or misdiagnosis), it can really screw a person up… just like with the wrong medication for the wrong condition.
These two things (12 years of formal training and the dangers of misdiagnosis) are why I insist that self diagnosis is NOT an actual diagnosis… As I have stated… and will state again… self-diagnosis is not a diagnosis at all… BUT IT IS AN IMPORTANT STEP… If you have a self diagnosis, then you NEED to seek a psychiatric professional to give you a diagnosis so that you can move forward with confidence and get the needed treatment.
To that end… I recommend the following site for self diagnosis.
For the record… my scores:
Your Aspie score: 191 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 13 of 200
You are very likely an Aspie
This is a useful tool for self diagnosis. If you take this test and it comes out positive… please… PLEASE get a diagnosis so that you can start treatment, counseling, socialization or normalization…
Isn’t that really the goal? I mean… really? Why bother with a self diagnosis if you are not working to make your life better?
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources: