Home Uncategorized UAE: Has the internet diagnosed you with depression? The peril of ‘TikTok doctors’.

UAE: Has the internet diagnosed you with depression? The peril of ‘TikTok doctors’.

Videos on social media and online questionnaires may not be reliable tools for diagnosing mental health issues.

by Jamsheera

Emily, a 25-year-old resident of Dubai (name changed by request), was drawn in by a TikTok video titled “Signs You Have Bipolar Disorder”. As she watched, she felt a profound sense of recognition. The symptoms described resonated deeply with her own experiences.

“I felt like that TikTok video was describing my life. It was like someone had taken my thoughts and put them into words,” Emily shared with Khaleej Times.

The surge in self-diagnosing mental health issues through online surveys and TikTok videos is a worrying trend. Fueled by relatable content and the accessibility of information online, this phenomenon has raised alarms among mental health professionals.

The algorithm game

As Emily continued to interact with mental health content online, the algorithm appeared to increase her exposure to videos concerning bipolar disorder. She found herself scrolling through a continuous stream of content that only reinforced her belief.

“It was odd how many videos began appearing on my feed about bipolar disorder. It almost felt like the universe was affirming what I had already suspected,” Emily remarked.

The resonance of these videos heightened Emily’s conviction, prompting her to explore further into self-diagnosis and self-help resources. She elaborated, “Each video I watched strengthened my belief that I was experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder.”

Taking tests and questionnaires

Leen, a 23-year-old Sudanese expatriate living in Sharjah, became deeply engrossed in the realm of online mental health content. Being a recent medical graduate, she found herself fascinated by the stories shared by individuals in videos detailing their struggles with depression and anxiety. After viewing numerous such videos, Leen’s inquisitiveness prompted her to participate in online questionnaires and tests to evaluate her own mental well-being.

To her surprise, the results of these online tests seemed to mirror her own feelings and experiences. Leen found herself identifying with the descriptions of depression and anxiety symptoms, and a growing conviction began to take root within her.

“The more videos I watched and the more questionnaires I took, the stronger my belief became that I was grappling with depression. The symptoms they outlined resonated with me deeply, and I couldn’t shake the sensation that I was facing similar struggles,” Leen expressed.

With a medical degree under her belt, Leen comprehended the significance of seeking professional help for an official diagnosis. However, she also found herself torn between her knowledge and the desire to explore self-help options.

“As a doctor, I understand that obtaining a proper diagnosis necessitates a psychiatric evaluation. Yet, I couldn’t help but ponder whether I could manage this on my own, at least initially. I felt conflicted, recognizing the importance of professional guidance while simultaneously being enticed by the prospect of discovering coping mechanisms independently,” she elaborated.

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