Teens are using social media to diagnose themselves with ADHD, autism and more. Parents are alarmed

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CNN Business published this story by Samantha Murphy Kelly about parents concerned that their children are self-diagnosing, often repeatedly, based on content they see on TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms:

“Some people browse TikTok and Instagram for recipes, memes and colorful takes on the news. Erin Coleman says her 14-year-old daughter uses these apps to search for videos about mental health diagnoses.

Over time, the teen started to self-identify with the creators, according to her mother, and became convinced she had the same diagnoses, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, autism, mysophobia (an extreme fear of dirt and germs) and agoraphobia (a fear of leaving the house).

“Every week, she would come up with another diagnosis,” Coleman told CNN. “If she sees a hint of herself in someone, she thinks she has it, too.”. . .

Social media platforms, including TikTok and Instagram, have come under mounting scrutiny in recent years for their potential to lead younger users to harmful content and exacerbate what experts have called a national mental health crisis among teens. But Coleman is one of nearly two dozen parents who told CNN that they are grappling with a different but related issue: teens using social media to diagnose themselves with mental health conditions.

A growing number of teens are turning to social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok for guidance, resources and support for their mental health, and to find conditions they think match their own – a trend that has alarmed parents, therapists and school counselors, according to interviews with CNN. Some teens start to follow creators who discuss their own mental health conditions, symptoms and treatments; others have come across posts with symptoms checklists to help decide if they meet the criteria for a diagnosis.”

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