What Is Cyberchondria?

On the digital world in which we live, the internet rules our lives. One of the main problems presented by the network is the saturation of information, as well as its lack of reliability. What Is Cyberchondria?

Anyone can write all kinds of content without the necessary knowledge on the subject.

What Is Cyberchondria
Man looking at his laptop.

The health sector is one of the most affected by this phenomenon, with users and patients being the main victims. The people who present some symptom related to a disease do not hesitate to go to the main search engines looking for causes and consequences of their ailments.

Microsoft researchers

This practice has led to the creation of a term, coined by Microsoft researchers Ryan White and Eric Horvitz: Cyberchondria. The Fundeu Foundation defines this neologism as the obsessive concern for health that leads to continually consult the Internet to confirm illnesses that are believed to suffer, usually serious, or in search of symptoms, effects or possible treatments. Digital hypochondria is the order of the day.

It is not strictly forbidden to consult these sources online if in doubt. However, you should know where and how to search.

Internet users should always consult those pages that are reliable and verified by health professionals. However, it should be stressed that the visit to a doctor should always be a priority.

Symptoms Of Cyberchondria

Self medication.
  • Concern and conviction of the person to be suffering from a serious illness through subjective, ambiguous and personal interpretation of somatic symptoms or symptoms of a mild illness.
  • Appearance of symptoms that are not real.
  • Self-diagnosis.
  • Living always with fear and stress.
  • Constant checking both at body level and on the Internet.
  • Self-medication.
  • Unnecessary visits to doctors or even their absence.

Self-diagnosis problems

Self-diagnosis is one of the most committed errors in society that can trigger really serious problems for the patient.

  • Diseases do not manifest themselves in the same way in all people. Each body has its own characteristics and should therefore be consulted by a health professional.
  • Symptoms can lead to confusion due to ignorance.
  • Faced with the urgency and uncertainty of having a rapid diagnosis, the Internet deprives us of giving each problem its due importance.
  • The answers thrown by blogs or forums can trigger an anxiety crisis.
  • Self-diagnosis is a dangerous action that usually leads to errors that give way to self-medication. This can lead to complications in other unknown conditions.
  • Not worrying about diagnoses that are not serious can lead the user to a state of relaxation and lead to his decision not to visit his medical centre.

Negative Effects Of Digital Hypochondria

What Is Cyberchondria
Man worried about bad news on the internet.

The interference in our lives and the fact that we check on the Internet reinforces the idea that we are suffering from something serious.

Take an example: if we look for stomach pain, which is a symptom that we have all suffered on numerous occasions, the fifth search that the algorithm returns to us is symptoms of stomach cancer, and the hypochondriac seeing this can increase his belief that this symptom of a serious disease without having any diagnostic test to confirm it or having done any kind of examination by a specialist.

That is why stress, anxiety and fear increasingly control our lives until they are completely conditioned.

An Increasingly Worrisome Practice

According to specialists, there is no predominant age or sex range when talking about patients suffering from this compulsive behavior.

Hypochondria is a problem that has always existed and that with the arrival of the 3.0 World has dawned.

Cyberchondria happens quite frequently and it is important to treat it as soon as possible so that it is not more complicated with time to get rid of it.

It is also a problem that occurs seasonally and that makes the patient think that is solved, but it is not, because each time the peaks will be larger and longer lasting.

Treating This Problem Is Necessary

Woman looking for treatments for her disease.

The first thing to do if you think you or someone around you has this type of compulsive disorder is to go to a specialist to try to work on it and remedy it as soon as possible.

There are effective treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy that definitively solve this problem.

The first thing you will be recommended to do is to stop consulting Google on a recurrent basis for a medical consultation or to carry out a self-diagnosis, and of course, the next time you have any ailment or discomfort, you will have to go to your health centre, hospital or trusted doctor to be treated in the most correct, appropriate and contrasted way possible.

You should know that HEALTH is much more complex than we are told on digital platforms.

Do not turn digital hypochondria into one of the evils of this 21st century and, above all, do not let it condition your life, because we only have one.