Should I Get a Second Opinion on My Mental Health Diagnosis?

Should I Get a Second Opinion on My Mental Health Diagnosis?

Getting a second opinion when it comes to a mental health diagnosis is important, especially if you or a loved one is uncertain about your treatment plan. The proper diagnosis and treatment for your mental health condition can mean the difference between living a normal life and enduring one that is full of mental health ups and downs. You must feel comfortable with both your treatment plan and your mental health care providers in order to move forward. Getting additional opinions can confirm what you have been told or signal that more work needs to be done.

The Right Diagnosis

Because a mental health diagnosis stays on your medical records even if it changes later, it is important to get it right at the outset. Recognizing the early signs of mental illness can be difficult, especially if there is no personal or family history of diseases of the mind. In the early stages of mental illness it may be tempting to place a label before a firm diagnosis is reached, and that label can follow you for a long time. Some mental illness symptoms may actually change as you get older, so giving a formal diagnosis too soon can lead to inappropriate treatment plans. It is possible to recover from one or even two episodes of mental illness and a doctor may want to watch for recovery after treatment before making a firm diagnosis that may not be accurate down the road. Even if one doctor is sure of your diagnosis, loved ones, friends or others close to you may disagree. Getting a second opinion can offer peace of mind to both you and the ones you love.

Your Right to a Second Opinion

Although there is no law that gives anyone a right to second opinion, getting one is an accepted practice in the field of medicine. Your mental heath care provider should support your desire to get a second opinion. If he or she does not support you in your choice, you may want to consider another physician. Your physician’s office should be willing to send your medical records to other doctors who are reviewing your case with your consent. Use care when you get a second or third opinion, and make sure you are doing so to get a truthful answer and not one you simply want to hear. At some point on the mental health journey you must accept what you are being told and move forward in treatment to begin the healing process.

Finding Help for Mental Illness

Getting a second opinion can be a positive step in the treatment of mental illness. Understanding and being confident in your diagnosis and treatment plan can improve your chances of recovery success. If you or a loved one struggles with mental illness, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free helpline, available 24 hours a day, to speak to an admissions coordinator about treatment options.