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Misdiagnosis of Anxiety disorders

Misdiagnosis of Anxiety disorders

A diagnosis of an anxiety disorder may be missed or delayed for a variety of reasons. For example, people with an anxiety disorder may fear the stigma of or be embarrassed by mental illness and not seek treatment. People with chronic hypoxia due to COPD may become confused and unaware that hypoxia is worsening or coexisting with an anxiety disorder.

A diagnosis of an anxiety disorder can be also be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other conditions. These include indigestion, upset stomach, gastritis, drug addiction, heart attack, Alzheimer's disease, hyperthyroidism, angina, hypertension, psychosis, and hypoxia. At the same time, anxiety disorders often go hand in hand with depression....more about Anxiety disorders »

Diseases for which Anxiety disorders may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Anxiety disorders is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Anxiety disorders: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Anxiety disorders may include these medical conditions:

Anxiety disorders: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Anxiety disorders: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Discussion of diagnosis/misdiagnosis of Anxiety disorders:

Many people with panic disorder visit the hospital emergency room repeatedly or see a number of doctors before they obtain a correct diagnosis. Some people with panic disorder may go for years without learning that they have a real, treatable illness. (Source: excerpt from Anxiety Disorders: NIMH)

Common Misdiagnoses and Anxiety disorders

Parental fears about toddler behavior often unfounded: There are many behaviors in infants and toddlers that may give rise to a fear that the child has some form of mental health condition. In particular, there is a loss of fear of autism or ADHD in parents. However, parents should understand that the chances are higher that it's part of normal development, and perhaps just a "cute behavior" rather than a serious condition. Although parents should be vigilant about monitoring all aspects of their child's development and mental health, they should also take care not to over-worry and miss out on some of the delights of parenthood. For example, a young child that screams when you open his car door to take him out, then makes you put him back into the car to repeat it, so that he can open the car door himself, is not necessarily showing signs of autism or OCD, nor indeed any mental illness. There is a small possibility that it's an abnormality (a chance that increases with age of the child), but it's also the type of behavior seen in many normal children. See the introduction to autism and introduction to ADHD.

High rate of misdiagnosis of psychiatric disorders: The book "Preventing Misdiagnosis of Women" reports on studies that estimate that 41% to 83% of people who are treated for psychiatric disorders, actually have a misdiagnosed physical disorder. See Preventing Misdiagnosis of Women (by Klonoff and Landrine).

Rare seizure-less epilepsy misdiagnosed as various conditions: A complex partial seizure disorder, such as temporal lobe epilepsy can be misdiagnosed as various conditions. Some of the possible misdiagnoses include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, multiple personality disorder, somatization disorder, hypochrondria, an anxiety disorder, sexuality disorders, hysteria, and fugue.

Common asymptomatic heart disorder can cause anxiety-like conditions: Anxiety symptoms may be due to heart disorder - There is a reasonably common heart disorder called Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP), that often remains undiagnosed in people. A relationship or association exists between anxiety-type symptoms, anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, agoraphobia, and MVP, such that MVP should be investigated as a possible underlying cause in some anxiety type symptoms.

Rare neurological disorder misdiagnosed as anxiety condition: Posterolateral sclerosis is an uncommon neurological disorder that can be misdiagnosed as an anxiety disorder. Symptoms such as peripheral numbness, weakness, or sensations, may be wrongly attributed to a psychological disorder.

Rare copper disease insidious and misdiagnosed: Wilson's disease (a form of copper overload) is a rare disorder that has a slow and insidious onset that can often fail to be diagnosed. Copper builds up in the liver and in the brain, usually in the late childhood, teens, or 20's. Brain changes can lead to a variety of neurological and psychological type symptoms, such as speech symptoms, language difficulty, behavioral symptoms, and various others. Possible misdiagnoses include depression, behavioral disorders, schizophrenia, mental retardation, learning difficulty, anxiety disorders, hysteria, and other psychological disorders. Physical symptoms related to liver damage, such as jaundice, often appear later, leading to the delayed diagnosis. See overview of Wilson's disease.

Rare cancer hidden cause of panic symptoms: The rare cancer pheochromocytoma, an adrenal tumor, can initially have symptoms similar to panic disorder. Its symptoms may include anxiety, panic, sweating, increased heart rate, and other symptoms. See the overview of pheochromocytoma.

Thyroid disorder misdiagnosed as anxiety disorder: The book "A Dose of Sanity" reports on a case where as woman was diagnosed with panic disorder, and had been taking a variety of anti-anxiety medications. She was correctly diagnosed with hypothyroidism, having reduced the dosage of her medication for this already-diagnosed thyroid condition.

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability to speak. This was initially misdiagnosed as a "nervous breakdown" and other mental conditions. He was later diagnosed as having had a stroke, and suffering from aphasia (inability to speak), a well-known complication of stroke (or other brain conditions).

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also occur from a side effect or interaction between multiple drugs that the elderly patient may be taking. There are also various other possible causes of dementia.

ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults. Some adults can remain undiagnosed, and indeed the condition has usually been overlooked throughout childhood. There are as many as 8 million adults with ADHD in the USA (about 1 in 25 adults in the USA). See misdiagnosis of ADHD or symptoms of ADHD.

Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) often fails to be diagnosed correctly by primary care physicians. Many patients with bipolar seek help from their physician, rather than a psychiatrist or psychologist. See misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with an eating disorder is female. The result is that men with eating disorders often fail to be diagnosed or have a delayed diagnosis. See misdiagnosis of eating disorders or symptoms of eating disorders.

Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be undiagnosed in teenagers. The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause severe medical depression to be overlooked. See misdiagnosis of depression or symptoms of depression.

Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression) may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see symptoms of anxiety disorders). Failure to diagnose these anxiety disorders may worsen the depression. See misdiagnosis of depression or misdiagnosis of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Anxiety disorders:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Anxiety disorders:

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Anxiety disorders or confirming a diagnosis of Anxiety disorders, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Anxiety disorders may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Anxiety disorders. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.

 

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