There are no ‘tests’ as such, for mental illnesses. Mental health problems cannot be diagnosed by checking the blood or body fluids of the person experiencing symptoms, as would be the case with a physical health condition such as Heart Disease or Diabetes.

A diagnosis will usually be made by an experienced psychiatrist working with other health professionals after a period of observation of the individual to identify symptoms. A person’s medical history and recent life events will also be taken into consideration. Family and friends can play an important role by discussing changes they have noticed in an individual’s behaviours. A check of the person’s physical health will also be necessary to ‘rule out’ any symptoms that could be contributed to a physical condition.

This process of obtaining a diagnosis is not easy, and it is not uncommon to have difficulties in either getting an accurate diagnosis or getting access to the appropriate treatment and care. A period of time for careful assessment is necessary to ensure a correct and accurate diagnosis is made.


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