6 Physical Health Issues That Are Often Misdiagnosed For Mental Health Disorders

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2Lyme Disease

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“[For some people with Lyme Disease,] symptoms often are identified as depression or simply an abnormal illness behavior, meaning someone is behaving as if they have a specific diagnosis,” says Dehorty. “Due to the size of the tic, most don’t notice the initial bite. Therein lies the problem, because the mark left by the bite is very specific and diagnostically important.”

3Neuroendocrine Tumors

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Rare conditions such as a pheochromocytoma (a typically noncancerous adrenal tumor producing excess amounts of adrenaline), may sometimes be misdiagnosed as anxiety or panic disorder when the condition is unrecognized. “Pheochromocytomas may also cause the symptoms of palpitations in conjunction with excess sweating, headache, and tremors,” physician Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe tells Bustle. When in doubt, always talk to your doctor and possibly even get a second opinion.


Ashley Batz/Bustle

Type 2 diabetes development can mimic depression. “This includes low mood, irritability, and weight loss,” says Dehorty. However, these changes actually have to do with insulin resistance, not mental health. Oftentimes, these symptoms are also a reaction to living with the disease and the stress that comes with managing it, according to the American Diabetes Association.

5Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Ashley Batz/Bustle

If left untreated, syphilis can lead to an infection in the brain or spinal cord and affect your mental wellbeing. The symptoms of this infection, called neurosyphilis, include a wide spectrum of neurocognitive symptoms that are common to many neurologic and psychiatric disorders. “Neurosyphilis can present personality changes, confusion, depression, and memory loss,” Dr. Robert Segal, founder of LabFinder.com, tells Bustle. That’s why it’s important to get tested regularly for STIs and take charge of your sexual health.

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