10 Signs You’re a Cyberchondriac

Isn’t it great having Dr Google everywhere you go at your fingertips? BUT it’s all fun and games until WedMD says you have a rare disease and you have 12 months to live!

Here are 10 Signs that mean You’re a Cyberchondriac:

1. Every time you feel a slight tingle, ache or pain – you Google what it means to relieve anxiety

2. You read at least 3 different sites on the first search page of Google – one source is never enough!

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3. Instead of becoming less stressed, you become anxious and worried because you’re focusing on the worse case scenario

4. You then check online forums for reassurance and further clarification – at this point, you’ve definitely diagnosed yourself and are thinking the worse

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5. Rather than just ‘Googling’ the symptom, you start ‘Googling’ the disease you believe you have. And ALL of the symptoms and causes seem to relate to you

6. You’re convinced you have an extremely rare disease! You’re tingle, ache or pain all of a sudden is so much worse

Internet pharmacy
Internet pharmacy

7. You send the website links to your partner or best friend to inform them you have an incurable rare disease

8. The more you read, the more worried you are

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9. You distract yourself from the real reason you opened up the Internet browser

10. You believe Google, more than your professional GP. When you visit your doctor, you try to educate him on what you read on Google.

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Don’t let the web, get to your head!

Stop Dr Google.

The Tale of a Cyberchondriac

This is the story of Lorraine Edmiston. A 21-year-old cyberchondriac who believed she was experiencing the symptoms and causes of various serious diseases for months.

Lorraine was experiencing stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, reflux and excessive burping for weeks. With a full-time job and university, she struggled to find time to visit her doctor. Instead, she turned to DR Google for help and advice.

She decided to Google ‘abdominal bloating’ and found 48 possible diseases related to her symptoms on healthline.com. She spent hours reading up on each disease, looked at various websites and sources to narrow down the possible options.

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At the top of the list was indigestion and lactose intolerance – conditions suffered by Lorraine’s mum. Lorraine wasn’t too worried at first, until H. Pylori infection was another suggestion. H. Pylori causes stomach ulcers, another health issue experienced by her mum. At the stage, Lorraine became anxious and began questioning her mum of her experiences and symptoms to see if there were similarities. Many of the symptoms matched up causing stress amongst both Lorraine and her worried mum.

Another suggested cause was gluten intolerance – a condition suffered by Lorraine’s sister. From here, Lorraine chose to go on a gluten free diet to see if this would help. She altered her lifestyle and diet for 2 months. During this time, she didn’t notice her symptoms improving and continued to use DR Google, rather than visit her GP.

During this time, Lorraine discovered one of her friends recently experienced similar health symptoms. Her friend had a hiatal hernia; a condition in which part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm muscle causing pain in the abdomen and chest, belching, heartburn, reflux and nausea. Lorraine read up about hiatal hernias on Google and came to the conclusion that she had it!

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At this point, she finally decided to visit her doctor. Her doctor was convinced she was showing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), however Lorraine was not convinced due to her Google searches. She had convinced herself that it was a more serious issue and demanded tests to be performed. Lorraine underwent X-rays, ultrasounds, a colonoscopy and endoscopy – only to be told her doctor’s initial diagnosis was correct and was suffering from IBS.

Lorraine’s story proves the importance of visiting a doctor when health symptoms arise. She could have prevented stress, panic and changing her diet for 2 months if she didn’t Google her symptoms. Instead of trusting her doctor’s diagnosis, she chose to trust Google – she could have easily avoided hefty medical bills, undergoing anesthetics and spending unnecessary time in waiting rooms.

‘Don’t let the web, get to your head’

Stop Dr Google.