Based on my experience both as a therapist and client in the mental health field, I have learned that when therapists or psychiatrists give you the following diagnoses all too often here is what they really mean:
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Your obsessive nature is thwarting my compulsion to reorganize your life.
Paranoid Personality Disorder: The way I perceive you staring at me when I ask you extremely personal questions about the most painful experiences in your life really makes me uncomfortable.
ADHD: Your teachers don’t understand you, your parents suck, and I am on their side.
Bipolar Disorder: You’re going through a rough time, and now that I’ve found a biologically inherent justification for it, your insurance company will allow me to bill all year for your sessions.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder: I didn’t spend nine years getting this damn license just to listen to you blather on about YOU YOU YOU. How about ME for a change?
Antisocial Personality Disorder: You sicko — you actually DO the things my husband masturbates about on the internet.
PTSD: Since I can’t bill your insurance company for just writing “PTS,” I’ll compromise with psychiatry and add that little “D” to the end…
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: There doesn’t seem to be anything noticeably wrong with you, but you are here so you must be fucked up somehow.
Histrionic Personality Disorder: If you keep pushing it, sweetie, I’m going to diagnose you Borderline. So lower your voice, okay?
Cocaine Dependence: Fool! Adderall is legal, cheaper, covered by your health insurance, and works on the same neural pathways!
Anorexia: They’re models on television. You’re not.
Dependent Personality Disorder: We both need to accept that psychotherapy was never intended to last indefinitely. Well….unless of course you can pay full-fee, in which case I can cook up a more serious diagnosis for you…
Avoidant Personality Disorder: Thank God you pay out of pocket, because your insurance company doesn’t allow me to bill for all your missed sessions.
Alcohol Dependence: I probably drink just as much as you do, but since you’re paying and I have a degree I might as well pin an extra label on you.
Dissociative Identity Disorder: I know, everyone else has diagnosed you with schizophrenia, but I want a really juicy case to present at next year’s conference…
Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Finally I get a chance as a therapist to treat someone who’s just like my mother!!
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.