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



When it comes to feelings of anxiety and depression, it’s easy to assume they are a result of a mental health disorder — after all, that would make the most sense, right? But sometimes these issues are a side effect of another medical problem, and there are a number of misdiagnosed health issues that may be mistaken for mental health issues. Symptoms of mood disorders can be surprisingly similar to other health issues, and just because you noticed these changes first doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mental health disorder.

“In some cases, diagnosis is a simple process,” Scott Dehorty, LCSW-C, Executive Director at Maryland House Detox, tells Bustle. “If there is a nail sticking out of your hand … the treatment will be to remove the nail and treat the wound. Other cases are not so simple. If the presenting symptoms are lethargy, poor appetite, difficulty concentrating, increased body aches and pain, and irritability, that could be a whole host of illnesses, each with very different treatments.”

Although in some cases, your symptoms may indeed be a result of a mental health issue, there are certain medical conditions which are too often misdiagnosed. Here are six physical health disorders that get misdiagnosed as mental illness, according to experts.

1. Thyroid Disorder

Thyroid issues are often mistaken for anxiety or depression. “Thyroid levels can cause havoc with mood, energy, and the general ability to enjoy life,” says Dehorty. “This is also what depression looks and feels like. Thyroid should always be tested when depression is thought to be an issue, since it is a simple blood test and very treatable.”

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