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Why do psychiatrists fail to properly diagnose patients?

When patients aren't feeling well, one of the first steps to them to them getting better is to receive the appropriate diagnosis for their condition. If they receive the wrong one, then it opens them up to suffering for an extended period of time without relief.

Even if a correct diagnosis is ultimately made, the time that passes in between them having an onset of their condition and finding out what it is they have may be too long to save them in the end.

Psychiatry, like any other field of medicine, is one in which doctors are known to misdiagnose their patients.

Perhaps the most common reason misdiagnoses occur in this field is when patients fail to provide either an accurate or complete medical history for themselves. It's not always the patient's fault when this occurs, though.

One of the responsibilties of a psychiatrist is to ask probing questions about a patient's symptoms. If they seem to be either uncomfortable or appear to be less than forthcoming with responses, then it's their responsibility to pursue perhaps a more conservative course of treatment until a better connection between them and the patient can be established.

Another common reason misdiagnoses occurs in the field of psychiatry is because comprehensive assessments are passed up and less thorough ones are performed instead. In many cases, a patient may appear to have one condition, but only through further analysis may a psychiatrist realize that a patient instead has a completely different one.

Two psychiatric conditions that on the surface my appear similar to one another are anxiety and complex post-traumatic stress disorders. Unless a psychiatrist explores the entirety of a patient's symptoms, he or she may easily assign their patient the wrong diagnosis.

Other patients may have what's referred to as a dual diagnosis. If they do, then honing in on what they're suffering from may be difficult to do.

The reason it's so important for patients to receive the correct diagnosis from their psychiatrist is because it's key to them protecting both themselves and others from harm. If you've been misdiagnosed by your doctor, then an Irvine attorney can advise you of your right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in your legal matter.

Source: Psychology Today, "6 reasons for common psych diagnostic mistakes," Grant Hiary Brenner, M.D., accessed June 08, 2018

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