Monday, August 6, 2012

Diagnosis - just a label? A patients perspective

There is always a risk of over diagnosis and over 'medicalisation' of what may indeed just be parts of 'normal'.

Using hypermobility as an example (we can also use Idiopathic Scoliosis, Asbergers Syndrome and ADHD/DD) a patient recently remarked "We all know flexible people.  Isn't it just normal?"

I responded by saying she was correct - labels are only useful if you understand their limitations.  However a diagnosis (an accurate one) if used wisely can dramatically influence the overall health and wellbeing of an individual over their entire life.  As in any situation if we can identify strengths and weaknesses we can more effectively navigate our way through life's challenges.  Or we can ignore them and hope for the best.

Fortunately research continually expands our knowledge base and our understanding of the phenomena which affect us. 

Perhaps that is how we should view diagnosis.  In many cases (those where life and death is concerned for example) it is quite apparent that an accurate diagnosis is essential. However it is also apparent that most things which ail the population do not involve death but rather they affect the quality of life and it is just as important to accurately determine how specific types of conditions manifest themselves in each unique individual.

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