According to Wikipedia An individual with hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs become unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that they have, or are about to be diagnosed with, a serious illness.
Cyberchondriac is a civilised way of addressing hypochondriacs, who depend on internet for clarifying their symptoms only to be further stressed.
Put your hand on your heart and say you never tried to self diagnose your ailments through the internet .I am 100% sure that you can’t do .You not necessarily be a cyberchondriac,but you have tried Dr.Google.
A simple search for the word ‘COUGH’ resulted in About 12,40,00,000 results (0.49 seconds).How do you apply your cough to so many references ? Which particular search results suits your complaint ?
The reason for cough can be from simple cold to acid reflux to cancer of lung,though the person may not have serious problem,still referring Google and trying to find out the reason and even treatment…… seems to be a bit going too far, resulting in dangerous consequences.
The health information available on the internet need not be 100% accurate.
My experience as a Physician, with these patients who consult Dr.Google before coming the the Physician, is really frightening……since cyberchondriac eyes, first search for the the worst scenario and if ‘cancer’ is on any list of diseases……the beginning of the end starts.
Internet has changed the way the 3 categories i.e Normal people,Yet to be patients and real patients…all are taking advantage of Dr Google, only to become terrified and neurotic.
These people without any symptoms get anxious because one of their relatives had suffered some terrible disease,or they read some epidemics,swine flu etc, and then start thinking about harbouring the same disease and then exhaust all the internet sources about the disease,but still unrelieved,come to the doctor,who does all the relevant tests and declares that the person is perfectly OK ,still not sure in spite of getting assurance from the Doctor and enter into the permanent anxiety status for the rest of their lives.
2.Yet to be patients,
Some of them may be suffering from general ailments like,cold,sore throat,fever,dry eyes,and instead of approaching the Doctor, ( call it laziness.fear of Doctor,or smartness or ever availability of Dr.Google ),straight consult Dr.Google and try to get relief from Dr.Googles’ advice.When they don’t get relief,they make an attempt to see the Doctor who will diagnose the problem clinically and also with help of investigations, and start treating the patient ,who gets cured finally.Sometimes patients may approach the doctor very late when the disease yet to be diagnosed,advances,rendering the doctor helpless.
3. Those who are Already Patients. Here we come across two types
Type A. the one who is confirmed to have a disease.After completing the treatment and becoming OK still itching to go through the internet to see what other patients with same disease are commenting on their experience,trying to compare,and getting less relieved and further confused adding to the distress.
Type B . After confirmation of the disease by the doctor, who advises the patient to undergo operation, this patient tries to find some alternative remedy ,courtesy Dr.Google,and thanks to many quacks offering alternative treatment for this particular disease even suggesting …there is no need for operation ! No surprise,Quacks have proliferated on the Internet .
Doctors must also have a sympathetic attitude and not dismissive when a cyberchondriac bombards them with all the details.
Have patience to spend just 10 minutes on this video clip,meaningful discussion between and the patient and doctors
How not to be a cyberchondriac ?
- Have faith in yourself and your doctor.
- Think- internet is like an ocean.Yo can not map the entire ocean floor.
- Don’t indulge in self diagnosis through the internet.Medical information on the internet not necessarily be accurate.
- Never join the group discussions on the internet about your health problems.It’s of no use.
- There is no treatment for cyberchondria since it is not a disease and one has to have self control and avoid temptation of web search.