Do Psychological Diagnosis Labels Hinder Treatment?

Question by freakzilla816: do psychological diagnosis labels hinder treatment?
how would you think and behave if you were introduced to someone described as a high school drop out? a heroin addict? a schizophrenic?

-some people believe that diagnostic labels may actually serve as self fulfilling prophecies.

– those who are labeled may behave differently toward others or develop self concepts consistent with the diagnosis and thereby exaggerate, or even create anew behavior considered to be “abnormal”

Best answer:

Answer by cluless
Unfortunately, in the world of insurance billing and treatment centers, healthcare professionals are sometimes forced to put labels on their clients that they may not truly believe fit. I will do anything in my power to avoid labeling someone with an illness because I myself would hate to be labeled with something, whether or not it was true. Especially with mental health, there is a huge stigma to people who have problems, whatever they may be, and I’ve experienced it and I’ve known others who have experienced it. It’s not right but it exists, just like discrimination and racism. I make sure for myself that if I am introduced to a client who is “depressed”, I meet that client as if no one has ever diagnosed that client. I start from square one with that client and make my own assessment and evaluation. I try my best to keep an open mind. Sometimes I come up with the same diagnosis and sometimes I don’t. I know you were just using it as an example but it’s pretty straight forward with a heroin addict. They either are or aren’t. But things like schizophrenia are a lot more complicated and can be easily misdiagnosed. So I agree. I don’t make diagnoses unless I have to for insurance or health treatment facility requirements and even when I do, I don’t let those diagnoses necessarily dictate my treatment.

Answer by Dr. Bob
What you are talking about is from “labeling theory” which is part of “social deviance theory.” It says that we give permission to people to behave in certain ways based on the label we give them (that is, some word we use, or what we call them).

Daddy says kiddingly of his 8-year-old after he lifted something at the store, “Junior here is my little juvenile delinquent.” Or he says of his cute daughter, “She’s my little princess, she gets anything she wants.”

And so the son and daughter grow up with the permission-to-be the label they were given as kids. Son winds up in prison, daughter has several marriages in which her husbands refuse to treat her like…a princess!

You lump together “diagnosis” and “treatment,” as you should. they go together. But they have not always!

In Europe at the turn of the 20th century, many hospitals were places where illness was diagnosed…period. In 1902, when Freud invited Adler to help him create psycho-analysis, Austrian hospitals were all for diagnosis…with little or no treatment, since then they weren’t sure what to do! In fact, Austrians were so afraid to enter hospital that they believed (with reason!) they would not come out alive. (In fact about 50% of hospital patients died.)

Since Freud became so focused on sex as determining normal and neurotic personality, it was left to Adler in the first several decades of the 20th century to come up with psychological treatments for the neuroses. Read more about him at our web sitre:

— Dr. Bob, Adlerian Psychologist