Communication is an important part of human life, and it can become vital in clinical settings. However, patients and healthcare professionals often speak different languages, which leads to misunderstandings and misconceptions. For instance, if a patient hears the word depressed, they may associate this diagnosis with such symptoms as suicidal ideation and other negative thoughts. So, the patient will not believe they have the disorder and can keep it untreated. When saying delusional, a mental health practitioner means the state when a person acts or perceives information based on some misconceptions. For a patient, the word delusional may mean having hallucinations or being dangerous to others. Patients often misinterpret the word anxiety, thinking that this disorder is always linked to phobias and panic attacks.
The difference in meaning can have rather adverse patient outcomes. As mentioned above, patients may pay little attention to their mental health issues believing that it is minor and does not affect their life at all. Some may think that the diagnosis is wrong as they do not feel the way healthcare professionals mention it. In such cases, they do not follow treatment plans, so their health conditions may deteriorate, and more severe health issues may develop. On the contrary, some may think that the diagnosis they have heard is associated with severe symptoms and states and tend to choose more intensive care or even use over-the-counter drugs. This attitude can even lead to substance abuse due to people’s ungrounded concerns related to their health. They may think that any feeling, such as low moods or a normal reaction to a stressful situation, is another symptom, so their health state is becoming more serious.