Health-related matters take up 2% of all queries on the search engines, so its not surprising that there are a variety of internet-related ailments that can result out of accessing health web-sites! (No prizes for guessing the most common topic on search engines on the Net).
Here’s the low-down on the most common internet-caused afflictions:
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).
Here’s some friendly advice: It takes years of medical training to adequately decipher fully what’s found on web health-sites and to full appreciate its implications. 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 the likely possibilities of what condition you may have ( what doctors call differential diagnoses).
- Internet fuels bad self-diagnoses and ‘cyberchondria’ (msnbc.msn.com)
- Cyberchondria: The Good, The Bad, and The Neurotic Side of Internet Diagnosis (wired.com)