ELI ARTICLECYBERCHONDRIANOOBWe all have that feeling when we wonder that the world revolves around us. Mostly in the negative sense, we tend to believe that all the bad things always happen to us.
This belief of ours can only seem harmful to us in the psychological sense, but excessive tension can definitely cause certain medical problems. Looking at the advancement of info sharing, one such problem is Cyberchondria. Loosely it is diagnosing yourself with almost every and any disease by seeing its symptoms online. With the amount of information available online (origin of the term), it seems to be really of great help to just be your own physician, and like any other dilemma, internet is the first thing we seek help from. However one may argue, what is the use of such a knowledge sharing platform when one is never to use it. It is important to note that googling the symptoms of heart attack after going through chest pain won’t make you cyberchondriac. It is only when you regularly visit various health websites almost daily and fear having most of the diseases even though you are medically quite stable.
Cyberchondria certainly increases anxiety (imagine having most of the diseases in the world), and we don’t really need to add another source to it. Remember heartburn and heart attack have very similar symptoms with a tiny life saving difference.GEEKFusion of hypochondria with the internet is the basic concept of cyberchondria, also known as compucondria. This linkage offers potential benefits for both consumers and health care professionals, for example cost and time saving, availability of a wide array of information, support for interpersonal interaction and social support, tailored information and anonymity. Even though there is no harm in using the information available for use, the availability of information is definitely a cause of increase in the reported cases.
Studies have shown that the use of the internet as a diagnostic methodology can lead to consumers misdiagnosing themselves and adopting treatments that are inappropriate, wasting money and unnecessarily worrying about illnesses that they do not have. People with no medical training or knowledge of terminologies put themselves at risk using self-diagnosis and treatment. This escalates the anxiety level of the individual. One major reason for cyberchondria is uncertainty, when the decision-maker is unable to predict outcomes accurately. This creates a cycle of anxiety and uncertainty, one leading to another. Consumers of the web who lack the skill and knowledge to adequately interpret and evaluate medical information are more prone to the potential dangers of self-diagnosing and treatment. Even well-educated users could lack the background to determine the qualifications of Web authors and separate truth from opinion. Fitness is directly related to survival and thus any oddity can begin to fret the individual.
As much the problem is for the patient as much suffers the medical practitioners. There are instances where patients hesitate to believe that they are not seriously ill based on the information gathered from medical webpages regarding their symptoms. Due to this being a recent phenomenon, the preventive measures need much rigorous considerations. Surveys and studies to analyse the common character traits of the patients can very helpful in the process. Relevant data should be used to adjust the web pages, so that both consumers and medical professionals are able to use them apty without being in for any danger.
This could be easily done by developing a sort of informed consent that visitors of those sides have to agree with before entering the actual page. ADDConsider the case of Jerome K. Jerome, has it been 2014 instead of 1889, he wouldn’t have to go all the way to the British Museum to convince himself and his friends (not to forget the dog) about the astounding boat trip. He could have decided about it in the comfort of his own home.
And who knows, with the number of sources he would have had access to, he might even would have diagnosed himself with housemaid’s knee.NORMALAcquainting new people is considered an important social trait in homo-sapiens. However, for most of them this seems to be a very difficult task. We find it very difficult to understand those who have different beliefs and opinions than those of ours. Thus for normal people like yourselves(most definitely an overstatement, here being normal only refers to being non-cyberchondriac), it is very difficult to understand the anxiety of a cyberchondriac.
They may seem incredibly stupid at first, but a second closer and deeper understanding reveals that they only lack the ability to think rationally. Anyone with anxiety issues in general is likely to develop this condition, given internet. Most of us are addicted to various practices, Checking medical websites is their addiction. Although, unlike other habits it hardly provides any pleasure or satisfaction. So being judgemental towards them is not of any use even though we wish we could say something different about being sympathetic. CYBERCHONDRIAC