Top Treatment Center Warns Not to Self-Diagnose Via Social Media

Timberline Knolls cautions against using online sources to identify mental health disorders

Chicago, Feb. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Using social media to self-diagnose mental health disorders can be damaging, and individuals should use caution in taking advice from influencers who are not qualified or licensed, according to one top residential treatment center.

TikTok, a popular video-sharing app, allows users to post content that is up to three minutes long. Because anyone can join TikTok, there has been a recent influx of individuals online posing as mental health professionals and sharing content and advice that they may not be qualified to discuss.

“Licensed professionals have a much deeper understanding and knowledge of the complications and challenges of diagnosing eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and other co-occurring presentations,” said Diane Carugati, CEO at Timberline Knolls, a treatment center located outside of Chicago for adolescent girls and women who are struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and mood disorders.

Some rare mental health conditions are highly viewed topics on social media. For example, #borderlinepersonalitydisorder has more than 600 million views on TikTok, while #dissociativeidentitydisorder has more than 800 million views. In reality, only 1.6% of the population suffers from borderline personality disorder and 1.5% from dissociative identity disorder

It’s impossible to accurately portray the severity and reality of living with a mental health disorder on video platforms like TikTok because its three-minute limit forces creators to simplify and shorten content. This can be damaging when it comes to mental illnesses, as it risks making people believe that they have a disorder based on a few simple diagnostic criteria.

When people inaccurately diagnose themselves, they may be unintentionally downplaying the severity of those conditions.

Carugati offers four tips to help navigate mental health content on social media:

  • Go to reliable sources online to seek information about mental health
  • Be aware of people posing as mental health professionals
  • Don’t participate in trends that make light of mental health disorders 
  • Avoid taking diagnostic tips from creators too seriously 

“Receiving an accurate diagnosis requires a professional,” Carugati said. “If you or someone you love is struggling, talk to a professional mental health expert about your symptoms.”

About Timberline Knolls
Timberline Knolls is a residential treatment center located on 43 beautiful acres just outside Chicago, offering a nurturing recovery environment for women and girls age 12 and older who are struggling with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health conditions. An adult partial hospitalization program (PHP) is available for step-down and for women to directly admit. By serving with uncompromising care, relentless compassion, and an unconditional joyful spirit, we help our residents and clients help themselves in their recovery. For more information, please visit




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