Could you be a cyberchondriac?

- Cyberchondria refers to searching the web excessively for health care information. And the more you search the worse your perceived fate becomes.

Most of us have done it one time or another -- research a medical symptom by googling it. So is that a good thing or a bad thing?

“It can be both. It depends on the extremes you go to collect that information,” said Dr. Matthew Gallagher co-director of the University of Houston Department of Psychology Trauma and Anxiety Clinic of Houston.  

Gallagher says excessively googling a medical issue and then believing yours is the worst case scenario can make you a cyberchondriac.

“If you jump to the conclusion well they had that symptom and they have this terrible disease that’s the trap that you fall into,” Gallagher said.

Remember, everything found on the internet is not true. Gallagher recommends limiting your search to reliable sites.

“So looking into the National Institute of Health or very prestigious places like MD Anderson, The Mayo Clinic, institutions that we know are on the cutting edge of science and practice,” said Gallagher.

View your search as a way to determine what kind of doctor you need to go see. Gallagher says you shouldn’t view the search as a way to diagnose and treat your medical symptom.

“You might think you’re doing something that seems really promising but could actually be quite detrimental for you long term,” Gallagher said. 

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