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StepDaughter Self-Diagnosing

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


StepDaughter Self-Diagnosing

Hi there! I have a stepdaughter who is 17 who self-diagnoses constantly. She’s always saying she’s certain she’s ADD, gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, has a stomach ulcer, has PCOS, has autism, has OCD (which, thinking about all of this is the only one I think might be worth looking into…), has gastroparesis, has DID, has anxiety, has Tourette’s; these are just the ones I remember. She’s very serious and while not scared or nervous, she checks things off a list and swears she has each of these things at any point in time. Not all at once, but singularly at different times. Her dad indulges this behavior instead of kind of giving her a level head about it and kindly being like “honey, do you, in all honesty, think that you have ALL of these things?” Or “can we talk about this?” Or putting her in therapy. He kind of says “oh, you think you have that?” and sometimes “hmm, maybe.” But later he will be like “no, I don’t think she has that. But I don’t want to be mean.” I feel like it’s doing her a disservice bc I think I think she needs real help. I want to be helpful but frankly, I’m exhausted of the certainly that she has these truly serious issues with absolutely no signs of any of them, with the exception of anxiety and possibly OCD which I do think we should seek professional opinion on. Any advice on how to help or at least stay sane?
Prolific scribe

Re: StepDaughter Self-Diagnosing

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Hi @TaylorMS1986 and welcome to the online community!


That sounds like a very difficult situation with your step-daughter. I can completely understand why you're feeling exhausted - it sounds very draining trying to give her reassurance and manage her anxiety when she's convinced that something is wrong. 


It also sounds tough balancing your own views of the situation with your partner's. It sounds like he's quite concerned about hurting his daughter's feelings, but that hiding his true feelings hasn't been particularly helpful for her since she's still continuing to worry and self-diagnose. How do you think your partner would react if you told him that you're quite worried about your step-daughter and you'd like to explore getting her some psychological support? 


With all of this going on, how have you been coping? Taking some time for yourself and getting some respite can be a really important part of 'staying sane' while supporting a young person who is struggling. Is there anyone in your life aside from your partner that you can talk to about what's been happening? If you think it would be useful for you, feel free to check out our article on looking after yourself when you're teen is in distress as there are some good tips in there (but please keep in mind that the services listed are Australian as we are an Australia-based service).