Remote Diagnosis Disorder (RDD) is my new addition to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
People afflicted with this personality disorder suffer from an uncontrollable urge to diagnose individuals as suffering from one or more psychological disorders, specifically individuals which the RDD sufferer has had little or no direct personal interaction with. RDD sufferers often diagnose specific mental illnesses and may go so far as to offer treatment suggestions.
Rather than conducting a formal psychological exam, including a structured face-to-face or verbal evaluation, RDD sufferers are inclined to make snap diagnoses based on data such as a very brief personal interaction, the opinions of third parties, asynchronous and/or indirect interaction (such as email), and the imaginary neuro-associations they’ve created for the people they diagnose.
Despite having little or no direct interaction with those they diagnose, RDD sufferers often remain strongly convinced their diagnoses are accurate. A side effect of this disorder is that RDD sufferers will typically avoid prolonged direct interaction with those they diagnose, as this could corrupt the benefits they obtain from RDD by proving their assumptions inaccurate.
RDD is essentially a form of projection. RDD sufferers remotely diagnose in others the mental disorders they experience in themselves but cannot yet bring themselves to accept.
RDD is often accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: anger, depression, episodic dysphoria, anxiety, Internet addiction, substance abuse, instability in personal relationships, fear of abandonment, unstable self-image, severe dissociation, and eating disorders.
An effective treatment for RDD is to help RDD sufferers consider how their diagnoses of others are actually a projection of their own imbalances. By having the RDD sufferer make a list of his/her remote diagnosis of others, the therapist can begin treating these specific disorders in the RDD patient. Once the patient accepts these issues as his/her own and begins working through them directly, symptoms of RDD tend to fade. However, RDD symptoms may continue throughout therapy as new issues are brought to the surface through the mechanism of RDD.
Another practical treatment is to ask RDD patient to offer their own treatment suggestions for those they diagnose with various mental disorders. These suggested treatments can provide a starting point for treating the RDD disorder itself. In this manner the patient’s subconscious may offer effective treatment suggestions, bypassing any resistance from the conscious mind.