What is Cyberchondria and how can it affect you?

Posted on April 8, 2023

Many people who are sick turn to the internet to self-diagnose. It is estimated that approximately 70% of adult Americans use the internet to obtain medical information. This information may provide some people with a sense of relief or a better understanding of their medical condition. For others, this information heightens their health-related anxiety to unwarranted levels. The direction of causality in the relationship between online health-related searches and health anxiety may differ from person to person. In some cases, perhaps the majority of heightened health anxiety is the primary reason for online health-related searches; however, these searches only cause more distress and worsen health anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms of Cyberchondria

The primary symptom of cyberchondria is that the affected person is overly concerned about having a life-threatening disease, despite having a few mild symptoms. The following are typical signs and symptoms of those who are affected:

1. An irresistible desire for continuous searching for the information

2. Spending too much time searching online for facts about the mild symptoms you are experiencing

3. Panic and excessive worrying due to searching behavior

4. Want to hear confirmation of your diagnosis based on the internet find

5. Developing mistrust of medical professionals, as their facts don’t match your interpretation

6. Fear of having at least one or more life-threatening illnesses

7. While searching for correlated illnesses, you experience a rise in heart rate, sweating, palpitation, or other anxiety-related symptoms.

8. The desire for order, neatness, symmetry, or perfection.

9. You conclude that your findings are accurate despite the doctor’s suggestion.

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Category(s):Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Source material from Scott Psychological Centre