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I don’t care if it’s not actually a “trigger” by definition, if I post something that has content you are uncomfortable with, let me know and I will tag that shit so fast because I think everyone has the right to have an enjoyable time on this website, end of story.
would you diagnose yourself as HAVING THE FLU? would you TELL PEOPLE YOU HAVE A SORE THROAT without a doctor’s approval? of course not. as everyone knows, symptoms are arcane runes inscribed on the body and can only be interpreted by doctors, and wizards
The problem isn’t the interpretation of symptoms, though; some illnesses manifest in obvious and unique symptoms which leave no doubt of the underlying aetiology. However, 99% of illnesses present with symptoms which allow differential diagnoses, i.e. other, less common illnesses which share the same set of symptoms and which must be excluded from consideration by use of various clinical tests before adequate medical treatment can be initiated.
For influenza, some (un/)common differential diagnoses (based on Influenza-Like Illnesses, ILI) are (from my pocket guide to differential diagnoses):
Acute Respirator Distress Syndrome.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
Streptococcus pneumoniae infection.
Drug use of: Influenza vaccine, interferons, monoclonal antibodies, chemotherapy, Levamisole, biphosphates, Caspofungin, opioid withdrawal.
I found a full list here - most of these aren’t relevant to Emergency Medicine, but just have a scroll through that page and consider the number of differential diagnoses available for ILI.
Most of the time, most, when patients present with flu-like symptoms, it is just the flu and it’ll go away on its own. Sometimes, it’s Avian Flu or Swine Flu, but still, most patients improve without assistance and don’t seek medical attention, assuming (sometimes correctly, sometimes not) that they’re just having the flu. This doesn’t mean, however, that their “self-diagnosis” was correct; their “flu” could potentially be any one of the illnesses listed above, which is why all diagnoses must be supported by clinical tests. For this reason, when presented with any given set of symptoms, doctors operate with a list of differential diagnoses and a working diagnosis, which is their personal “best guess” until test results come in—and more often than not, the working diagnosis changes as treatment progresses and more tests are performed. (I’ve had the “you came in with a sore throat, but it’s actually HIV” chat with patients myself. HIV can present as f—ing anything. It’s always a differential diagnosis. Forget about Lupus, Dr. House.)
Unless you have knowledge of relevant differential diagnoses and access to clinical testing, you cannot diagnose an illness correctly—even doctors get it wrong sometimes, if they can’t uncover all the differential diagnoses. Which is why the layman’s “self-diagnosis” is a) not possible, b) appropriation of medical terminology (and as tumblogger, you ought to know appropriation is bad), and c) potentially very dangerous. (Just look at this post. Did you know, OP, that Ebola also presents with flu-like symptoms? Should you really be telling people to “self-diagnose” with common garden-variety influenza when we’re currently experiencing the most severe Ebola outbreak in human history?)
I understand that Americans (and others, but this seems to be mainly a US issue on tumblr) do not have access to adequate healthcare—which is an absolute travesty and something y’all should think hard about when you’re old enough to vote—but a “self-diagnosis” is not a diagnosis, and it’s a potential health risk to yourselves as well as potentially hurtful to people with actual diagnoses, especially when it comes to mental health issues. One thing is “self-diagnosing” with the flu or a sore throat, another completely is to “self-diagnose” with ADHD, PTSD, Asperger’s, Bipolar Affective Disorder, etc., because these are rare conditions and you become, by claiming them, representative of patients with these disorders, except you aren’t representative if you don’t actually have the disorder, which is unbelievably harmful to the people who do and might limit their available treatment options—you might indirectly be responsible for someone’s death by claiming an illness you do not have.
Don’t ever “self-diagnose” with a mental disorder—if you experience mental health symptoms, they might a) require psychiatric treatment, or b) be indicative of hormone imbalance, or pernicious anaemia, or cancer, or something else which requires immediate medical treatment. Remember: in 99% of illnesses, differential diagnoses exist. Always see a doctor (if possible—if not, consider the benefits of democratic socialism, e.g. universal healthcare).
And finally, let me just ask you this: Why self-diagnose? Doctors diagnose patients for the purpose of medical treatment; (almost all) diagnoses come with a treatment plan attached. “Self-diagnoses”, on the other hand, aren’t used for treatment purposes—can’t be, because they weren’t made by a medical professional. If you think you have a certain illness, you can study up on it, you can take steps to see if your symptoms respond to e.g. a gluten-free diet or a pet-free environment or cough syrup, and based on this you can form your own (limited, unsubstantiated) “working diagnosis,” but you cannot “self-diagnose.” I personally suspect that “self-diagnoses” are only good for one thing: scoring cheap point on social media websites. :/
(Addendum: No, you don’t have Ebola. If you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, please don’t call your doctor and tell her you have Ebola. It’s just the flu, cross my heart. Or HIV.)
(Addendum 2: I’m not a classist or an ableist, but I am a socialist. My #1 reason for disapproving of “self-diagnoses” is because they’re indicative of an oppressive and exploitative capitalist system of government which denies its citizens basic human rights such as free and equal access to healthcare. Don’t send me angry messages about it on tumblr, Americans—rise up, throw off your yoke!)
wait, wait wait
so, let me get this straight.
you, as a socialist, oppose the capitalism of medicine which means not everybody have the samee access to medication.
so you oppose self-diagnosed people, who are the people hurt by that system and are trying to find ways to work around it?
"I don’t support this thing so I’m going to not support people hurt by this thing because if I support them that will somehow support the thing I don’t like" that’s not how anything works
I disapprove of a system which denies equal healthcare to all citizens. Medical treatment should be given to all those who need it, not only those who can afford it.
However, lack of access to adequate healthcare does not make self-diagnosing a viablealternative.
The solution to “I can’t see a doctor” is not “I will diagnose myself,” it is “I will work to change the system so that in the future I can see a doctor.”
Self-diagnosing is harmful to you and to others. It is not “working around the system,” it is pointless, and sooner or later it’ll get someone killed. The only thing self-diagnosing is good for is providing justification for you to act like a jerk on social media.
Case in point: You don’t know anything about me, my chronic illness or my depression, but nevertheless found it completely justified to tag your post #omg abled people. No rational counter-arguments, no empirical evidence, nothing—all you had to support your opinion was “omg abled people.” You reduce disability to a stick you can thump people over the head with when you disagree with them.
Saying “I’m right because I’m disabled” is exactly the same as saying “you’re wrong because you’re disabled.” Both is ableistic. Don’t be a hypocrite.
White privilege doesn’t mean that every single white person is better off than every single person of color in every single instance would could possibly imagine. If you’re confused about what white privilege is, I know this blog that literally exists to compile examples of white privilege. You should check it out. It’s called our blog, this one, the one you’re on right now.