(Health Secrets) Cyberchondria! It sounds like an internet joke, or some another new condition made up by mainstream medicine, doesn’t it? But cyberchondria is no laughing matter, and it is becoming a growing concern due to the increasing number of people using the internet to search for solutions to their perceived illnesses.
Cyberchondria is defined as unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomology based on review of search. In other words, excessive anxiety resulting from online health searches. While the internet can be a powerful tool to research health conditions, a cyberchondriac may believe that they suffer from ALL the conditions they come across.
Although cyberchondria and hypochondria may seem to essentially be the same condition, hypochondria is an excessive concern with one’s health in general, whereas cyberchondria involves excessive online concern with one’s health. Instead of doing realistic research, a cyberchondriac will tend to believe they suffer from the worst case of each condition they find. The more they search, the more serious their perceived health condition becomes.
Cyberchondriacs will often dismiss information that doesn’t support their worst-case scenarios. In reality, however, even as they search for the causes of their symptoms, they are really trying to relieve their fear that they have a serious or life-threatening condition.
Signs that you may have cyberchondria include:
*Focusing on the worst case scenario.
*Surfing the internet for the vaguest of symptoms.
*The “Favorites” you visit or bookmark consist of health related searches.
*The slightest symptom you experience results in an immediate online search.
*You have printed volumes on health conditions to show your doctor.
*Even though your searches confirm that your symptoms are something minor, you keep looking for a more a reason to worry.
*Experiencing anxiety when researching symptoms.
*Feeling worse after reading health information.
*Symptom surfing takes over your life.
Healing from cyberchondria
Cyberchondria is an anxiety-related disorder. Persons who suffer from some type of anxiety are more likely to suffer from cyberchondria. If left untreated, cyberchondria can cripple a person’s life to the point of damaging relationships as well as actual health.
When researching symptoms on the internet, it is important to know the difference between realistically taking charge of your health and getting swept up in magnifying every possible symptom you may have. However, this may be impossible for a cyberchondriac. Therefore, therapy may be necessary to put things into perspective.
Unfortunately, mainstream medicine will likely treat cyberchondria as it treats other conditions: with unnatural and dangerous drugs. A better solution would be to seek a holistic health practitioner who can help treat any actual conditions he/she finds, as well as relieve fears about worst-case scenarios the cyberchondriac may harbor.
The goal is to realize that cyberchondria doesn’t have to take over your life, and focus on overcoming the problem at hand and stop magnifying what are most likely unfounded fears.
Following are some simple steps a cyberchondriac may take to aid healing:
*Talk to a qualified holistic professional.
*Do not spend excessive time on health related sites and forums – especially the ones filled with conflicting advice and fellow cyberchondriacs. If need be, unplug the computer or at least take breaks away from it (something most of us could probably benefit from).
*Find activities to get involved in that do not involve the cyber world: such as outdoor activities, reading, finding a hobby, etc.
*Relaxation exercises, meditation, visualization, and music therapy will help to promote peace of mind.
Family support can be very important for a person suffering from cyberchondria. Instead of laughing the problem off, the family should understand the condition so that they can guide and encourage their loved one to overcome it.
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Published with permission from Alignlife. Original article link is here.