Cyberchondria – worry over an imagined illness – should we surf our symptoms over internet?

In the recent era of tech-savvy world, with a simple search of a few words you can find articles, blog posts, forums, research studies, journals and many other publications on any and everything. Among all these, advice and research on Health rank most popular and can be useful in helping you make an informed decision about your health.

If you are also in the habit of doing same, you might be the victim of Cyberchondria. These sites function like machines, put a few symptoms in and it puts out conditions to match. The danger with this is that sometimes individuals may find results that lead them to believe they have much more serious conditions or wrong conditions altogether. Cyberchondria is a growing concern among many healthcare practitioners as patients can now research any and all symptoms of a rare disease, illness or condition, and manifest a state of medical anxiety.

There is nothing wrong in searching information about web, however this has its own pros and cons –

Pros:

  1. These sites have a vast collection of information on various medical conditions and treatment options.
  2. It is a time saving option for a minor health issue.
  3. Privacy is fully secured specially for those who are not comfortable discussing the issues with Doctors, especially in case of sexual disorder or genital disorders.
  4. It is Free.
  5. It will allow to discuss the health issue with multiple Specialist in a single platform.

Cons:

  1. These sites are providing bunch of information based on keywords entered by you. Information are generic and not person specific.
  2. These sites function like machines, put a few symptoms in and it puts out conditions to match. The danger with this is that sometimes individuals may find results that lead them to believe they have much more serious conditions or wrong conditions altogether, leading toward CYBERCHODRIA.
  3. Self-diagnosis by these sites may leads to stress, panic and hormonal misbalance in body.
  4. Some sites are sponsored by different pharmaceutical companies in order to push prescription drugs. Aside from the fear-tactic content, the page is full with ads from various brands promoting their products and more
  5. Sometime these sites provide wrong information and you actually missed out the proper treatment.

In conclusion, I have seen many cases coming to the hospital to meet Physician with a stress and anxiety just because they have diagnosed themselves based on online result. Remember, symptoms are mostly remain same for different diagnosis, e.g. a Headache can caused because of Stress / Sinus / Cold/ Migraine / or work load / brain disorder / brain tumor.

Online sites cannot examine you personally and physically. All human bodies are different and their diagnosis are different.

You can always research with your symptoms online, however, you must not replace it with you Doctor.

 

Written By-

Tuhin Sengupta

 

 

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