UAE warns against mental health self-diagnosis through TikTok

When Emily, a 25-year-old Dubai resident, watched the TikTok video "Signs You Have Bipolar Disorder," she found herself identifying strongly with the symptoms that were shown.

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Emily expressed a feeling of familiarity with the material in the film, as if her personal experiences were being expressed right in front of her. People are self-diagnosing mental health issues, which is a worrying trend brought on by the abundance of online surveys and TikTok videos that discuss mental health. Mental health doctors are concerned about the rise in self-diagnosis, which they attribute to comparable material and the ease of access to information on the internet.

Algorithms seemed to personalize Emily's feed to include more videos about bipolar disorder, which increased her immersion in mental health content online. Her conviction in her self-diagnosis was strengthened by this relatable content that confirmed her assumptions. Leen, a 23-year-old expat from Sudan who recently graduated from medical school and now lives in Sharjah, also noticed that she was drawn to online conversations on mental health. Leen evaluated her own mental health by completing online tests and questionnaires after watching multiple videos that described her personal battles with anxiety and sadness. The results, surprisingly, confirmed her suspicion that she was struggling with depression because they matched her own experiences.

Despite her medical background, Leen found herself torn between seeking professional help for an official diagnosis and exploring self-help options. This internal conflict stemmed from her understanding of the importance of professional evaluation juxtaposed with the allure of managing her symptoms independently. Dr. Aida Suhaimi, a psychologist at Medcare Camali Clinic, emphasized the importance of seeking professional help for accurate diagnosis and treatment. She underscored the risks associated with relying solely on online resources for diagnosis, citing a case where an individual's self-diagnosis of depression led to self-medication with inadequate treatment, ultimately worsening the condition.

Dr. Suhaimi cautioned against the dangers of inaccurate self-diagnosis, highlighting the potential for exacerbating conditions or delaying appropriate treatment. She stressed the necessity of recognizing the limitations of self-diagnosis and advocating for seeking professional guidance for comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment planning.

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