The Facts about Cyberchondria in Australia

In recent years, Australians have been ‘googling’ their health issues/symptoms, rather than visiting a general practitioner immediately. This prevalent social problem has led to Australians becoming ‘cyberchondriacs’ due to misdiagnosing themselves via information found on Google.

Cyberchondria is a healthcare issue. Simon Usborne describes it as individuals who “present their symptoms to “Dr Google”, and latch on to the worst “diagnosis” thrown back at them”. This leads to individuals experiencing heightened levels of anxiety due to misdiagnosis.

How many Australians are self diagnosing online?

According to a survey taken by Bupa, Almost half of Australian self-diagnose online; Australians aged 18-34 are most likely to seek medical information online; with 46% of females most likely to diagnose themselves online versus 39% of males.

Are Australians making sure they take advice from reputable sources?

NO. 57% of Australians do not check the source of health information found online. This is a dangerous statistic – Australians are taking medical advice from non-credible and non-professional sites posing to be within the medical industry or possess


Why are Australians ‘Googling’ their health symptoms?

  1. In Google, we trust

We are accustomed to having a vast array of information at our fingertips at all times of the day. Constantly connected to our iPhones, tablets and laptops – our first instinct is to ‘google it’ every time an issue arises.

  1. But I don’t have time…

Australians believe they are time poor due to a constant need for a healthy work/life balance. They seek medical information online as it’s faster than making a doctors appointment and waiting in a doctor’s surgery – plus, mobile technologies give us answers immediately!

  1. It’s a bit embarrassing

Google removes any embarrassment of seeking medical advice from a physician. It also allows users to be anonymous via online forums while talking to others with similar health issues. The anonymous factor of Google enables the ‘patient’ to feel at ease and comfortable with DR Google.

But beware…’Don’t let the web get to your head!’

Stop Dr Google.

Infographic Source:


Don’t Google It

In 2014, the Belgian medical site Gezondheid en Wetenschap launched the ‘Don’t Google It’ campaign to tackle the recent shift in googling health symptoms. Advertising agency DDB Brussels cleverly created an advertising campaign targeting the right people, at the right time. They bought Google AdWords for the top 100 searched health symptoms. Now, when people google these symptoms, the top result reads, “Don’t Google it, check a reliable source,” and clicks through to

Watch the ad now:

Client: Gezondheid en Wetenschap
Campaign: “Don’t Google It”
Clients: Marleen Finoulst, Elizabeth Bosselaers, Patrick Vankrunkelsven
Agency: DDB Brussels
Creative Director: Peter Ampe
Creative Team: Tim Arts, Stefan van den Boogaard
Head of Digital: Geert Desager
Strategic Planner: Maarten Van Daele
Senior Account Manager: Silvie Erzeel
Television Producer: Brigitte Verduyckt
Digital Producers: Stefanie Warreyn, Maarten Breda
Web Developer: Christophe Gesquière
Design: Andreea Buescu, Cedric Lopez
Content Planner: Michael D’hooge
Production Company: Lovo
Director: Norman Bates
Producers: Bert Brulez, François Chandelle

Don’t google it from Gezondheid en Wetenschap on Vimeo.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Self-Diagnose Online

Did you know almost half of the Australian population self-diagnose online? One third of Australians use the Internet to manage long-term health conditions. And, more than have of Australians are not checking the Internet source of health information. This is leading to more and more Australians misdiagnosing themselves with Dr Google.

Why you shouldn’t self-diagnose:

  1. Google doesn’t know who you are – Dr Google cant see the cut on your finger…or measure your body temperature…or check your ears if you have an infection.

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  1. Google is not a physician and you are not a health expert…leave it to the professionals.

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  1. You cant trust every website – you don’t know if the writer is actually a doctor.

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  1. Cyberchondria gets worse the more times you Google.

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  1. You will convince yourself that you have a deadly disease.

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All images created by Stop Dr Google


Stop Dr Google is a blog dedicated to educating young adults on the facts of cyberchondria, the dangers of self-diagnosis online, tips for those who wish to self-diagnose, and real-life stories of people who’ve experienced cyberchondria.

But first…you may we wondering, WHAT IS CYBERCHONDRIA?

Have you ever experienced a bad headache?

You may have googled ‘bad headache’ if it carried on for a couple days. Within five minutes, you learn that you have a migraine…OR, you’re suffering from chronic headaches (which is hereditary)…OR WAIT, Google jut diagnosed you with brain cancer! You’re in a panic…screaming at your family to come to the computer and read this tragic news. You call your best friend to tell her you love her. Your stress and anxiety levels escalate as you realise you need to book in to see a neurologist immediately! You don’t have time to waste…Google just said you’re dying!

This is cyberchondria.

When Dr Google (our 21st century go-to genius technology) convinces someone they have a health issue or disease after searching medical websites and they experience heightened levels of anxiety.

You can’t deny it; we’ve all googled a health symptom at least once. BUT, what we seem to forget is that Google doesn’t have face-to-face interaction with us, nor does Google know our medical history. We forget Google is powered by search-engine-optimised websites, biasely designed to show us the most talked about, most search for, most interesting and most popular diseases.

Stop Dr Google is here to remind you… ‘Don’t let the web, get to your head’.