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Misdiagnosis of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND

Alternative diagnoses list for Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND:

For a diagnosis of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND:

  • Mood disorder due to a general medical condition
  • Substance-induced mood disorder
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Folic acid defiency
  • Lyme disease
  • Panic disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Shizoaffective disorder
  • Delusional disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Chronic psychotic disorder
  • Alcoholism
  • Schizophreniform disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cocaine use
  • Amphetamine-induced psychiatric disorder
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar affective disorder
  • Organic mood syndrome due to AIDS
  • Organic mood syndrome due to adrenal diseases
  • Organic mood syndrome due to cancer
  • Organic mood syndrome due to cardiopulmonary disease
  • Organic mood syndrome due to dementia
  • Organic mood syndrome due to epilepsy
  • Organic mood syndrome due to Fahr's syndrome
  • Organic mood syndrome due to Huntington's disease
  • Organic mood syndrome due to hydrocephalus
  • Organic mood syndrome due to migraines
  • Organic mood syndrome due to porphyria
  • Organic mood syndrome due to premenstrual syndrome
  • Organic mood syndrome due to systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Organic mood syndrome due to parathyroid disorders
  • Organic mood syndrome due to hyperaldosteronism
  • Organic mood syndrome due to stroke
  • Organic mood syndrome due to trauma
  • Organic mood syndrome due to thyroid disorders
  • Organic mood syndrome due to tuberculosis
  • Organic mood syndrome due to vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Organic mood syndrome due to vitamin C deficiency
  • Organic mood syndrome due to folate deficiency
  • Organic mood syndrome due to niacin deficiency
  • Organic mood syndrome due to thiamine deficiency
  • Organic mood syndrome due to Wilson's disease
  • Organic mood syndrome due to rheumatoid arthritis
  • Organic mood syndrome due to infection
  • Organic mood syndrome due to neoplasms
  • Organic mood syndrome due to Parkinson's disease
  • Organic mood syndrome due to pneumonia
  • Use of certain prescribed medications (e.g. Levodopa, sulfonamides, tetracycline, opiates, oral contraceptives, neuroleptics, ampicillin, beta blockers, digitalis)
  • Baby blues (postpartum blues)
  • Puerperal psychosis
  • Delayed maternal response

Rare Types of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND:

Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of different severities. Diseases in this group include multiple sclerosis, lupus, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes - all of these can have vague symptoms in their early presentations. Also, depression can have some symptoms similar to these conditions, and also the reverse, that many of these conditions can mimic depression and be misdiagnosed as depression.

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).

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there are many other less severe possibilities. Some level of memory decline is normal with aging, and even a slight loss of acuity may be noticed in the 30's and 40's. Other conditions can also lead a person to show greater forgetfulness. For example, depression and depressive disorders can cause a person to have reduced concentration and thereby poorer memory retention.

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.

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is mostly harmless. see the various causes of tremor and misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

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.

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, and Parkinsons-like symptoms around age 50. See misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

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.

Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND: Rare Types

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

Failure To Diagnose Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND

Failure to diagnose Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND may be associated with the following:

  • Depressive disorders such as dysthymia, seasonal depression disorder and postnatal depression often remain undiagnosed because its symptoms (e.g. fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and self-loathing, difficulty making decisions) may affect a person's motivation to seek medical advice
  • Dysthymia often remains misdiagnosed because its symptoms are relatively mild and thus patients often fail to recognise that they may have a problem i.e. usually symptoms are not debilitating enough to instigate a doctor's visit. The failure to diagnose dysthymia may lead to depression or bipolar disorder in the long term
  • Post-partum depression may occur up to a year after the birth of a baby which makes it less likely to be diagnosed accurately or diagnosed at all
  • The symptoms of dysthymia may have a gradual onset which means it often doesn't come to the attention of patients and health professionals
  • Many people whose dysthymia symptoms start early in life years fail to seek medical advice as they believe their mild symptoms are just a part of their personality and not due to a mood disorder
  • Patients with dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder and postnatal depression often do their best to hide their symptoms so as not to appear "weak" and fail to acknowledge that they are in any way depressed. Patients who don't report their symptoms, however mild, make diagnosis and treatment of the condition unlikely
  • Dysthymia in children is also often undiagnosed as usually they only present with irritability which is easily overlooked or put down to tiredness or even normal childhood behaviour
  • Dysthymia sufferers often also have other co-existing condition which makes it more likely that their dysthymia won't be diagnosed. The most common co-existing conditions are: ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. A large portion of dysthymia patients also suffer major depressive disorder
  • Seasonal depression disorder is often undiagnosed as people may dismiss their mood changes as a normal consequence of seasonal changes. They may not realise it is a treatable condition and therefore fail to seek medical advice. Other people would rather put up with their symptoms (especially since they usually disappear with seasonal change) than deal with a diagnosis of depression and undergo treatment
  • Seasonal depression, postnatal depression and dysthymia are often undiagnosed as the patient often does not recognise that they have a problem. As with the majority of mental illnesses, the greatest hurdle is patients recognising that they have a problem and seeking help. Often patients also need to overcome their fear of a possible diagnosis of a mental disorder due to the stigma attached to such disorders
  • Mood disorders may vary in severity and often people soldier on with their symptoms until it becomes more serious or other people start to hint that something may be amiss
  • The failure to diagnose postnatal depression can result in the mother causing harm to herself or the baby
  • Symptoms such as tiredness, irritability, sleeping problems, weight changes, reduced energy, concentration problems and low self-image are often overlooked as they are considered "normal" changes in new mothers who are coping with the demands of an infant
  • Pre-existing diagnosed mood disorders such as anxiety may make patients who develop postnatal depression less likely to seek medical advice as they do not consider the fact that their symptoms may be the result of another condition. Health professionals are also less likely to diagnose postnatal depression in a patient who has a pre-existing mood disorder

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND

The following may be hidden causes of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND:

  • Predisposing factors for dysthymia are genetics, stress, history of other mood disorders and drug or alcohol abuse. Other triggers for the disorder are stressful life events, certain medications or changes in the brains chemistry
  • A family history of the condition and living at higher latitudes increases a person's risk of developing seasonal affective disorder
  • Triggers or predisposing factors for postnatal depression include: lack of emotional support, unwanted pregnancy, unhappy childhood, difficult birth, breastfeeding problems, history of depression in the family, stressful life event and poor social conditions such as unemployment and financial problems

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND

Wrong diagnosis of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND may be associated with the following:

  • Patients may exaggerate their depressive symptoms which may result in dysthymia being misdiagnosed as major depression
  • Dysthymia is often misdiagnosed simply as fatigue due to the similarity of symptoms such as lack of energy and tiredness
  • Dysthymia may also be misdiagnosed as a personality disorder
  • Sleep disorders and dysthymia have similar symptoms (fatigue, low energy, insomnia, impaired concentration and decision-making ability and appetite changes) which may complicate diagnosis and lead to misdiagnosis. Dysthymia may even be misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Mood impairment due to negative life events such as teenage children leaving home may be misdiagnosed as dysthymia
  • Dysthymia in adolescents is often overlooked as simply normal teenage behaviour or laziness
  • The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder may mimic other conditions and it may thus be misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia or viral infection (e.g. mononucleosis). Common symptoms include fatigue, irritability, poor appetite, weight loss, sleeping problems and reduced energy level
  • Patients with seasonal affective disorder may overeat to compensate for their tiredness which may result in a misdiagnosis of an eating problem
  • Like all mood disorders, seasonal affective disorder is considered unlikely in children and hence it is rarely diagnosed. Also, children may express their symptoms slightly differently - depressive symptoms may not be as obvious even though fatigue, irritability and behavioural problems are present.
  • Sometimes seasonal affective disorder is dismissed as depression that is commonly associated with holidays or may be dismissed simply as loneliness - especially in older people.
  • Sometimes a transient condition called the "baby blues" may be misdiagnosed as postnatal depression leading to unnecessary treatment
  • Care must be taken to rule out underlying causes of symptoms before postnatal depression is diagnosed. Conditions such as anemia and thyroid disorder can cause similar symptoms so a new mother who presents with symptoms common to these disorders should not be presumed to have postnatal depression
  • Some experts believe that some diagnosed cases of postnatal depression may actually be misdiagnosed posttraumatic stress disorder. Some mothers have such a traumatic birthing experience that the suffer posttraumatic stress disorder and have symptoms such as feelings of failure, difficulty bonding with the infant, breastfeeding difficulty, dissociation, easily upset and other emotional problems
  • Normal emotional and behavioural changes that occur after a birth may in some cases be misdiagnosed as postnatal stress disorder leading to unnecessary treatment

Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of Dysthymia/seasonal depression disorder, PND

  • Post-partum depression is often considered a condition that resolves on its own and that it is not serious. However, a small portion of new mothers with untreated post-partum depression resort to suicide

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

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


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