Googling Your Symptoms Could Make You Even Sicker

baby on computerWhile taking a leisurely Internet peruse this morning, I stumbled across an article on CNN called "Cyberchondria Can Save Your Life." "Cyberchondria" is a digital spin on the word "hypochondria," and the article talks about how having said condition can actually be helpful because you just might happen to stumble across some random, life-saving piece of information in your paranoid searches.

I don't think there's anything I'll disagree with more today.


When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2009, one of the first things out of the (highly-esteemed) doctor's mouth was, "Stay off the Internet." The reasoning behind this was/is that the Internet isn't run by the medical community. It's run by a bunch of random clueless people with access to a keyboard. Odds are one person's in-depth analysis of his worst case scenario won't happen to you. But if you read it, it'll probably haunt you. I have an embarrassing amount of experience with this.

I've tried to reign in my cyberchondria since I've become pregnant, but I admit, it's reared its ugly head a few times in the past four and a half months. One experience resulted in two weeks of complete and total assurance (and panic) that there was something wrong with my child. I've since been to the doctor and have been informed that everything is perfectly fine.

Googling conditions, ailments, weird symptoms is a terrible idea, to say the least. Just call your doctor if you think it's necessary. Otherwise, like I said, the only thing you're going to get is a bunch of worse case situations and a couple of nights staring at your bedroom ceiling when you could be sleeping.

I know there are the random people who have had their lives saved because they read something on the Internet or saw Dr. Oz on Oprah or whatever. But those are the exceptions. For the most part, cyberchondria is a bad, bad thing, and the only thing that will come out of it is stress.

Do you have cyberchondria?


Image via Redden-McCallister/Flickr

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