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Perceived Illnesses: The Pitfalls of Self-Diagnosis

A lot of us have scoured through the net in the hopes of finding self-diagnosis foran unexplainable illness. Though some of us would do the smart thing, heading straight to a doctor, a good handful of us have the uncanny habit of researching their symptoms online. I’ve done it and I’m sure you’ve done it too. However, there are a good number of reasons why fending for yourself in terms of identifying your assumed illness is, ironically, more akin to digging your own grave rather than keeping yourself out of it.

Causing, and feeding, unnecessary anxiety

One of the most common consequences that unexplained illnesses lead to is to prompt individuals to find out their sickness on their own. Googling your symptoms can do you no good as it can create genuine fear and anxiety of the unknown, it only makes it worse when an illness is reported to be causing ‘mild anxiety’ prompting anxious people to get even more anxious and become convinced that their condition is a terminal one they just found on the net. This could lead to unnecessary requests for tests to look for something that isn’t there. This anxiety is symptomatic of a condition of being a cyberchondriac.

Going to the internet

The most likely move for people curious about their condition is to go on the internet and search for individual symptoms. Search engines ultimately lead to medical websites where the words included in your search were used, but most times, the first page you’ll see is a Wikipedia article.

Wikipedia ranks sixth as the most popular choice for anxious individuals for medical information, and the scary part is its popularity. Wikipedia being an editable archive space is open for editing to just about anyone in the world. Old articles may not be monitored by moderators and may contain misleading information with regards to medical issues and practices. Even if Wikipedia has strict guidelines and policies for maintaining their pages, there is no guarantee that the sources and articles present were collated by medical professionals. What’s more, you can’t sue Wikipedia for being wrong about their pages, which could lead to you looking like a fool when you finally take that trip to the hospital.

Find a trusted second opinion

In today’s day and age, access to the Internet has given individuals the opportunity to learn for themselves a myriad of abilities and skills. However, a medical degree isn’t something to take for granted. As people want instant results for their curiosity, they often find themselves in danger of treading unfamiliar waters just for an instant solution. Finding an online doctor service isn’t impossible as medical help websites are on the internet. It’s more advisable to seek a trusted medical opinion from a service than attempting to diagnose yourself with all the medical knowledge that Wikipedia and bogus articles can offer. But in the long run, you’re going to have to visit a medical professional to diagnose you. But it’s never wrong to prepare beforehand.

Image from:  Pixabay.com

Statistics from: http://www.businessinsider.com/dont-rely-on-wikipedia-to-provide-accurate-medical-information-2014-5

About Jacob Noah

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