How accurate are mental health tests online?


Woman sitting on computer, taking into account some optionsMental Health Exams That Offer Diagnostic Online Diagnostic Services Are More and More Popular These tests promise to help people understand their psychological needs and can serve as a springboard for discussion with a mental health provider. But these electronic mental health assessments offer an accurate diagnosis? This depends on several factors.

Mental Health Diagnosis or Quiz Animation? Knowing the difference

Spend some moments on Facebook and quickly find dozens of quizzes. Answer a few questions and find out which dictator you are most related to, what color your soul is or how many pets you should have. You may also find quizzes that promise to diagnose health problems that sprinkle between pears of strange quizzes. These quizzes promise to measure what personality disorder you have, how much OCD you are or what is your fundamental mental health problem.

These quizzes often synchronize clinically validated mental health diagnoses with personality traits or quirks. A person who prefers the company of others or who does not like abandoning beats with a marginal label, while a person who loves paper designers or who maintains a normal home has been marked by compulsive compulsion.

Quizzes that transform mental health diagnoses into labels or personality traits are unreliable. In addition, they often stigmatize the very conditions they claim to be diagnosed. Some points you get one of these mental quizzes include:

  • Everyone who gets the test gets a diagnosis.
  • The test does not reveal how it gets diagnosed.
  • The test is short.
  • The test contains many jokes.

How self-ratings work on the internet

The process of diagnosing a person with a mental health condition is exhausting. Even experts continue to discuss what criteria justify what diagnosis. Proper diagnostic criteria are so important that the American Psychiatric Society (APA) systematically updates the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), its diagnostic guide.

It's impossible for a quiz that makes a handful of questions to offer a clear diagnosis. However, researchers have developed several clinically validated assessment tools. These tools are well qualified to detect signs of different mental health conditions. They work by gathering symptoms of mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, and building questions based on these symptoms. Higher quality tools ask for the same question in a number of ways to ensure accurate results.

Some online mental health assessments are based on clinically validated diagnostic tools used by clinicians. For example, some reviews pose questions from the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which doctors often use to diagnose depression. Certain clinically validated diagnostic tools are as reliable as medical examinations such as imaging detection or blood test.

Quizzes that transform mental health diagnoses into labels or personality traits are unreliable. In addition, they often stigmatize the very conditions they claim to be diagnosed.

Can you get a mental health diagnosis from an online assessment?

Only one mental health provider can provide an accurate mental health diagnosis. It is important to see ratings on the internet as self-help tools, not as a way of diagnosis. These quizzes can encourage people to seek counseling or serve as a starting point for a discussion with a mental health provider.

Self-assessments online often suffer from two main deficiencies:

  • Reliability test: This is a measure of how well these tools detect mental health issues and how often they diagnose a mental health issue with someone who does not really have a diagnosis. Tests that have been clinically validated in studies studied are more reliable. The more a test is tested, the more reliable it is likely to be. Even the best trials can not substitute an expert's professional judgment.
  • Reliability report: Internet diagnostic tools are based on self-referrals. It can be difficult to evaluate honestly. For example, a person may not want to admit having trouble making friends, spending too much money, or fighting with communication skills. So some tests can end up being a measure of how an individual wants to appear – or what they think of themselves – and not how well they work. Higher quality tests try to address this issue with well-written questions.

For most people, there is no harm in trying out online self-assessments for mental health. They can draw attention to common mental health issues and may even reduce the stigma. But when these tests turn mental health into something fun or funny, they can actually increase the stigma, making people less likely to seek treatment.

People also have to be careful about privacy issues. Some obviously entertaining tests are really smart ruses designed to gain personal information. This information can then be sold to dealers or even guessing a person's password. Look to see where the test originates and carefully review the disclosure statements before proceeding to any online test.

What to do with an online diagnosis

If you get a "diagnosis" from an online test, it does not necessarily mean that you have a diagnosis or that what you received is correct. Please try the test again on a different day. Sometimes the tests record the way one feels at the moment and not the overall level of well-being.

People who worry about their mental health should speak with a mental health specialist such as a therapist or psychiatrist. Talking about the results of an internet test may still be a useful way to start the discussion. Try to report what the test said or share your answers to some of the test questions. It is also important to focus not only on what the test says, but on what you are concerned with today. Do you feel anxious? Angry? Sad? Single? This can help your provider limit the diagnosis and decide which treatment, if any, can be very helpful.

Signs of Mental Health Issues

Everyone struggles with anxiety, anxiety and sadness from time to time. Difficult emotions do not necessarily mean a person who has a mental health diagnosis. Because there are dozens of common mental health issues, it is impossible to determine if a person has a diagnosis based on a single list.

Instead, it's useful to evaluate how well you work. Are problems such as anxiety or depression causing relationship problems or hindering day-to-day functioning? Do you feel you are getting worse or can not change or control your thoughts? If so, treatment can help. Even when a person has no diagnostic problem, therapy can support people through processes of exploring painful emotions, defining broken relationships, and setting achievable goals.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Beidas, R. S., Stewart, R. E., Walsh, L., Lucas, S., Downey, M. M., Jackson, K., . . Mandell, D.S. (2015). Free, short and validated: Standard tools for low resource mental health settings. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 1(22), 5-19. doi: 10.1016 / j.cbpra.2014.02.002
  2. Daw, J. (2001). Psychological assessments that prove to be as valid as medical examinations. Psychology Monitoring, 7(32), 46. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug01/psychassess.aspx
  3. Rothke, B. (2017, August 7). Just say no to Facebook quizzes. Retrieved from https://www.csoonline.com/article/3214264/fraud/just-say-no-to-facebook-quizzes.html
  4. Sorting tools. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/clinical-practice/screening-tools
  5. Wilkie, D. (2013, September 11). How trusted are the personality tests? Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/how-reliable-are-personality-tests.aspx




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