How Long Does it Take to Accurately Diagnose a Mental Health Disorder?

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When it comes to mental illness, there are millions of people who struggle with some sort of mental health disorder every day. Some of them struggle in silence as they feel all alone. If this is the case for you, our Harmony Oaks team would be glad to help diagnosis the mental health disorder, so you can get the help and support needed.  If you want to know more about getting an accurate diagnosis for a mental illness, it is important to learn about who can diagnose these types of illnesses and how long it could take to do so, as well. 

Who Diagnoses Mental Illnesses?

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Do you struggle with mental health symptoms? If so, getting an accurate diagnosis is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. In order to properly diagnose mental health illnesses, professionals must have the ability to recognize specific symptoms in their clients and differentiate which disorders could be causing the symptoms. 

Clinicians who are working in the field of mental health must also have enough experience and training to make a confident assessment of their client’s mental health status. Specific professionals are trained and qualified to diagnose mental health issues. There are only certain practitioners who can prescribe mental health treatments, as well. 

Learning About Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are one of the best prepared professionals to diagnose mental health illnesses. Not only do these professionals have a substantial amount of experience in the field of mental health, but they also have medical health experience, as well. The reason this is important is because they can better distinguish between physical and mental health issues. Some people have a combination of both these issues that need to be addressed. Psychiatrists are better fit to rule out any overlaps and refer patients out to get the treatment they need. There are also patients/clients who have rare disorders that need complex treatment and care. Since psychiatrists are so well-versed in the physical and mental health side of things, they are one of the best professionals to handle these more complex cases.  In addition, psychiatrists are able to prescribe various treatments including multiple types of medications. In many cases, they can lead their clients through behavioral therapy, when needed, too.  If you or someone you love has moderate to severe mental health symptoms, a psychiatrist may be the best route for handling these issues. If you are struggling with physical health symptoms that doctors have been unable to identify a reason for, a psychiatrist may be able to help find a solution to these issues, as well. 

Learn About Psychologists

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A psychologist also has training in handling mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety and much more. They have a considerable knowledge, training and experience in psychology. However, the training they have isn’t quite as much as that of a psychiatrist. They don’t have as much medical or physical health education either. 

 If there is the chance that a physical health disorder is causing the client’s symptoms (also known as a co-occurring disorder), the psychologist may need to work with the client’s psychiatrist or doctor to better handle their care.    One of the differences between psychiatrists and psychologists is that the later can’t prescribe medications. However, psychologist are still effective in various treatment approaches. They are  very critical to the process of diagnosing and treatment the mental health side of things. Generally, psychologists work with their clients for a long time, to help them achieve long-lasting results. 

Learn About General Practitioners or GPs

Another option for getting an accurate mental health diagnosis is a general practitioner or doctor. They are qualified to diagnose mental health illnesses, however, their experience with these disorders is much less than that of a psychiatrist or psychologist. General practitioners tend to focus more on the medical or physical health aspects rather than mental health.  However, if you are struggling with mild to moderate mental health symptoms and need some help quickly, while waiting to get into a psychiatrist or psychologist, your general practitioner would certainly be a good place to start. There are some GPs who will prescribe depression and anxiety medications. They may even be able to help diagnose and treat some other mental health disorders. Ultimately, though, if you or your loved one struggle with a mental health illness, it is best to get into a psychologist or psychiatrist for long-term mental health care and treatment. 

What Benefits Can an Accurate Mental Health Diagnosis Provide?

Are you struggling with mental health symptoms? Maybe, you have anxiety that skyrockets every time you talk to someone or even when you are lone? Maybe, your depression is so out of control, no matter what you do. You may have confusion, lack of focus or a range of other mental health symptoms that could signify a host of mental health illnesses, but you aren’t sure what? That is where the general practitioners, psychologists and psychiatrists comes into play. All these professionals can work together to get an accurate diagnosis of your mental and physical health.  Why is getting an accurate mental health diagnosis so vital? Well, when you know what is going on with your body and mind, recovery is possible. Even though you might be nervous about receiving a mental health diagnosis, the sooner you find out the answers to what is going on with you, the sooner you can improve your life and your future.  Some other benefits of receiving an accurate mental health diagnosis include:

  • Improving your relationships
  • Better connecting with the people around you
  • Improving your self-confidence
  • Taking a bigger role in your life and your recovery
  • Being able to work better alongside others
  • Having a better understanding of what is happening with your mind and body
  • Being able to take a front-seat driver’s position to your life

Once you get an accurate mental health diagnosis, you can also stop feeling so alone. There are support groups for just about every mental health disorder out there. When you get the right diagnosis and receive the support you need, it’s easier to see you aren’t the only one dealing with these struggles. This support, alone, can often be enough for people to see that they don’t have to deal with this fight alone. 

How Long Does an Accurate Diagnosis Take?

Before diving into how long an accurate diagnosis takes, it is important to know that a diagnosis is a language of its own. Some people only have one diagnosis, while others may have quite a few. Oftentimes, as noted above, physical and mental health disorders overlap with one another. In addition, before getting an accurate diagnosis, the professionals noted above may need to help their client get a bit more stable. The reason for this is that mental health symptoms can affect self-care, vocational, life skills and relationship aspects of life. With all this being said, an accurate diagnosis for mental health disorders can take weeks to years to determine. However, don’t be discouraged. Even if it takes longer to find the right diagnosis, you can rest easier knowing that general practitioners, psychologists and psychiatrists will work together to help find the proper diagnosis. 

Get Testing and Mental Health Disorder Diagnoses at Harmony Oaks

Are you or a loved one struggling with mental health symptoms? Not sure what is happening with your mind or your life? Are you dealing with addiction, eating issues, anxiety, confusion or any other mental health symptoms? If so, contact our Harmony Oaks Recovery team today to get mental health testing and work on getting an accurate mental health diagnosis. Start your recovery process right away.   


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