Young people turn to TikTok to self-diagnose

Although TikTok has been useful in bringing mental health issues to the forefront and encouraging open conversation, some young people are using the platform to self-diagnose, Everyday Health reported Feb. 28.

The mental health community on TikTok is growing and has aided in destigmatizing diagnoses. It has helped some young people, who right now are suffering through an unprecedented mental health crisis, seek help, according to the report. However, without adequate education or access to professionals, TikTok mental health "experts" may be the first place young people turn to, which can be problematic.  

"Social media is a first line of information for a huge demographic. Many millennials and Generation Z members check social media more than the news, which makes the information received there extremely valuable," Akua Boateng, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in Philadelphia, told Everyday Health.

Some young people are looking to TikTokers to self-diagnose mental health disorders, and those assessments are often incorrect, according to John Tholen, PhD, a retired cognitive psychologist in Seal Beach, Calif.

"As any professional can attest, making a psychiatric diagnosis is a complicated process that often requires subtle distinctions. There is a big difference between experiencing symptoms and having a disorder," he told Everyday Health

Dr. Tholen recommends instead that people turn to professionals to seek advice and discuss symptoms they may be experiencing. A professional will be able to give an accurate diagnosis and make sure the condition is not physical or treatable in other ways, he said. 

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