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Cyberchondria: How The Internet Can Affect Your Health!

By Nupur Jha

Cyberchondria, also known as compuchondria, refers to one's ability to get mentally affected by researching health symptoms on the internet.

It has become a major concern amongst healthcare practitioners as it's a different form of the phenomenon called hypochondria in which people worry too much about their health and get affected psychologically. In this article, you will learn all about this condition, how you develop it, its risk factors and treatment.

The main reason why people get cyberchondria is because they overthink their health condition and try self-diagnosing it with the help of the information available on the internet instead of visiting a health expert.

Here's How You Get Affected By Cyberchondria:

People who are usually prone to cyberchondria are those who have experienced something like the loss of loved ones or having a close person diagnosed with a serious health condition. Even new mothers can get cyberchondria as they tend to look for information available on the regarding the health of their newly born baby.

Signs That You Have Cyberchondria:

Here are signs which reveal that you have cyberchondria:

  • Checking symptoms for diseases on the internet for 1 to 3 hours every day.
  • Checking the internet for ailments for even longer hours on your bad days.
  • If you've got a fear of having disease(s).

The health anxiety of people becomes worse when they over-research on the internet regarding diseases and symptoms.

Risks Of Cyberchondria:

Most of us are too concerned about our health, it results in ending up being less healthy because of the stress and tension. This obsession with health tends to raise the anxiety of the person and one needs to consult a health expert to deal with the condition.

People often end up misdiagnosing themselves by searching the information regarding medication and treatment available over the internet. The symptoms that you are researching about can be similar to the symptoms of another condition. The best thing to do is consult a health expert for the best health advice to cure your condition.

Treatment For This Condition:

When it comes to treating this condition, one needs to understand that nothing can really substitute the treatment that a doctor gives us when we are sick. If you are overconcerned about your health, the best thing to do is to go to a health expert and get their opinion about the same instead of self-diagnosing. Doing so will help in curbing the issue better and it will also help in letting you know what exactly is wrong.

One suffering from this condition requires cognitive behavioural therapy. It is a psychotherapy in which a person's negative thoughts about oneself and the world are challenged to change the behavioural patterns. This is also the treatment done for mood disorders like depression.

This therapy also helps in getting over the habit of reading health-related information. It's advised that you refer verified websites only. No matter what you read, don't believe it blindly or start following it right away, do take an expert's advice before you plan to start following whatever you came across.

Story first published: Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 16:29 [IST]
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