ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT WHAT TO WORRY NEXT?
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.
What is is cyberchondria?
Cyberchondria is an anxiety about symptoms of illness fuelled by internet search.
Who are cyberchondriacs?
Cyberchondriac is a civilised way of addressing hypochondriacs, who depend on the 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 it.
You need not be a cyberchondriac, but you have googled.
Search on the internet
A simple search for the word ‘COUGH’ resulted in breathtaking 1,030,000,000 results (0.47 seconds)
How do you apply your cough to so many references?
Which particular search result suits your complaint?
The reason for cough can be from simple cold to acid reflux to cancer of the lung, though the person may not have a serious problem, still referring to internet 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.
The anxiety of the people who consult Dr.internet before coming to the Physician, is frightening……since the eyes of cyberchondriac, always pick up the worst scenario and if ‘cancer’ is on any list of diseases……the beginning of the end starts.
The Internet has changed the way the 3 categories undergo unnecessary stress.
These people are terrified and become neurotic.
- Normal persons
These people without any symptoms get anxious because one of their relatives/friends had suffered some terrible disease, or they read about 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 despite getting assurance from the Doctor and enter into the permanent anxiety status for the rest of their lives.
2. patients with general symptoms
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 available internet ), love googling and try to get relief from millions of references.
When they don’t get relief, they 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.
- Those who are Already Patients Here we come across two types
Type A. is 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 the 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 an operation, this patient tries to find some alternative remedy, courtesy of internet search, 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 be dismissive when a cyberchondriac bombards them with all the details.
Have the patience to spend just 10 minutes on this video clip, a meaningful discussion between the patient and doctors.
How not to be a cyberchondriac?
- Have faith in yourself and your doctor.
- Think- the internet is like an ocean. You can not map the entire ocean floor.
- Don’t indulge in self-diagnosis through the internet. The 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 the temptation of web search.
The real Mantra is to Talk to a Qualified Doctor instead of the Unknown Internet.
“I woke up this morning feeling all peaceful and calm, so I googled my symptoms, now I am convinced I might be dead”
Thank you for your visit.
Take care, my friend.
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