When it comes to the most-searched topic for Web queries, there’s no doubt that sex tops the list; but, bearing in mind that health-related matters take up 2% of all queries on the search engines, its not surprising that there are a variety of internet-related ailments that can result out of this!
Internet addiction has been around for years. How do you know if you’re already addicted or rapidly tumbling toward trouble? Take this Internet Addiction Test here.
Cyberchondria (aka internet self-diagnosis) is another condition first coined in 2000 and refers to the practice of leaping to dire conclusions while researching health matters online. If that severe headache haunting you in the morning led you to the Web search-engine and convinced you that it is caused by a brain tumour, then the likely diagnosis is probably cyberchondria. People tend to look at the first few results in the search-engine and that froms the basis for them to probe further. For instance, a search on ‘headaches’ could lead to ‘brain tumours’ or ‘meningitis’. The phenomenon has become so pervasive that Microsoft did its own study on the causes of cyberchondria (see here).
My advice? While its good for people to know what’s going on in their body, make sure you look at reputable sites only and even then, look at them after your doctor has told you what you have (this will give you a reasonable launching pad to look at other likely possibilities- what doctors call differential diagnoses).