For those who have been suffering from health anxiety are in a habit of researching their medical condition or rather pre-diagnose themselves online. They often think that doing this is a better means of approaching their medical condition. However, experts say that doing this may result in wrong diagnosis.
The term used for such patients is ‘cyberchondria’ or excessive worry cause by self-diagnosis of the problem by looking up on the internet. Health information that is available online may be authentic, but it leads to anxiety in at least 40% of people who are habitually checking information online. Then again, the medical experts have a different opinion about it.
Well informed questions
According to experts, people who research their disease online skimming through various websites have more information. They are able to ask informed questions when they visit their doctor. People who are searching health problem using Google are e-health literate patients.
It is essential to note here that the information that the patient has prior to going to the doctor serves as a helpful diagnostic tool. The conversation between the doctor and patient is vital as it helps in bringing out the right questions.
Doctors on the other hand appreciate it as the information that comes across to them from different sources is almost like an information update for them. It is like being appraised on the latest medical literature.
If online research is good then is there a right way to research to avoid misdiagnosing?
- Seeking information online is beneficial for those who are not suffering from anxiety and are relaxed about their supposed condition. Often the anxiety results in misdiagnosis. Only those who are experienced in seeking the right information online can benefit from online research.
- When you visit your doctor, do not forget to mention what you have been reading online about your condition. Do not try to hide it from your physician. If the information is incorrect or the website that you have been looking up is not authentic the doctor will furnish you with the right information.
- It is essential to note that websites that have a suffix of .org or .edu are authentic as the information furnished on websites ending in these extensions have reputable information. Another thing to watch out for is the author of the information. If it is by a healthcare provider, it is coming from an authentic source.
- Too much research and checking out too many websites only leads to rise in anxiety level. It is advisable to check it at the time when you are in a relaxed frame of mind.
Even with all that is available online, it is essential that just by online research one should not make up an opinion about their medical condition. Consulting your doctor is essential. Doctor and patient should be open for a discussion rather than jumping to conclusions. Understanding that the patient is coming from an exaggerated view of their situation, the doctor should also handle the situation in a calm manner.