Sharing the importance of a differential diagnosis

I came across an article from the Washington Post about a misdiagnosis of a woman experiencing catatonia for 20 years, but actually had lupus, which was causing the psychosis.

For people who experience psychosis, they are suppose to receive a differential diagnosis for all possible known medical causes for psychosis first, which includes autoimmune diseases. It’s best practice to rule out all the known possible medical causes first before considering a psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. This apparently wasn’t done for her.

Furthermore, it’s recommended by the APA for folks who end up getting diagnosed with schizophrenia through the process of elimination that they get regular physical exams, which may have caught this for her in the blood work.

The Washington Post wrote a very misleading OR poor researched article, seeming to imply this is the first time lupus was discovered for psychosis when it’s been long documented as a potential cause and should be considered in a differential diagnosis medical workup in the beginning.

The reporting is very upsetting for this woman misdiagnosed and another woman mentioned in the article who has been misdiagnosed for 10 years. And it’s upsetting for all the other potential people who might not be informed about differential diagnoses.

Bringing up the importance of differential diagnosis to the attention of others here because it’s not often brought up or discussed and often neglected in medical practice to do differential diagnoses even though they are best practices, because doctors just don’t do their due diligence a lot of the time and assume symptoms are psychiatric.

So I’m just passing along the importance of differential diagnosis if you didn’t know.

Original article posted with helpful links:

There was a woman who commented about PANDAS that’s actually a relatively new discovery and very hard to diagnosis, but also good to know about as it’s new.

I hope folks find this information interesting and helpful for them and their relative’s health.


Information on differential diagnosis for psychosis: