Date of Award


Document Type



College of Nursing

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Project Mentor

Bonnie Bowie


Malia Alexander


Misdiagnosis of mental illness is a regular phenomenon that occurs in therapy, nursing, psychiatry, and primary care (McIntyre, 2022; Wolkenstein et al., 2011). Mood disorders are the most common category of mental health disorders, with depression being the leading cause of worldwide disability (WHO, 2017). Mood disorders are misdiagnosed at a very high rate, with 70% of bipolar parents being diagnosed with another disorder, and depression garnering false positive and false negatives by general practitioners at rates of 69% and 65%, respectively (Aznar-Lou, 2019; Fernandez, 2010; Shen et al., 2018). Psychopharmacology is the most common treatment for mood disorders provided by psychiatrists, primary care, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. Parents misdiagnosed and treated for a mental illness they do not have can exacerbate symptoms including depression, delusions, mania, and hallucinations, and may lead to recurrent episodes, rapid cycling, mixed states, hospitalization, and suicidality (Leung & Palmer, 2016).