contacting-u asked: Hey. I'm confused on what a "primary diagnosis" is. Does it mean the first diagnosis you are given? The central diagnosis that other diagnoses you may have result from or are linked to? Something else? Likewise, what is a secondary diagnosis/disorder? Could you also give an example, please? Thanks in advance.
Answer: “Primary diagnosis” means your main diagnosis, or the disorder that is the most essential to your experience. It’s the disorder you list first in your list of diagnoses because it’s the most prominent (for me, that is BPD). A secondary diagnosis or a comorbid diagnosis (comorbid basically means co-occurring) is a disorder that you also have, but is not the primary one. It’s comorbid with your main diagnosis, but is not your main problem. That’s not to say it’s not still a problem, but it’s not the sort of… foundational disorder like a primary diagnosis is, that everything else builds on. For me, my secondary diagnoses/my comorbid diagnoses are Bipolar I, PTSD, STPD, GAD and so on.
It has nothing to do with what order things were diagnosed in. For me, I was diagnosed with GAD well before I was diagnosed with anything else, but my primary diagnosis is BPD because that’s the foundation of my mental illness. It’s the centre of my experience as a mentally ill person, and all my other disorders build on top of it or circle around it like satellites.