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26 December 2007

Are You a 'Cyberchondriac'?

Because of the Internet, many people have developed what used to be known as "medical student syndrome"; after getting some basic information, and little context, they self-diagnose in ways that can be far from the mark.

A sign of becoming a "cyberchondriac" may be that you feel worse after Web surfing instead of better.

Robin DiMatteo, a professor of psychology, says, "If research on the Internet helps to make you feel empowered, and engaged in a dialogue with your doctor, it's helpful.” By Dr. Vicki Rackner, surgeon and patient advocate, "If you feel more scared and confused after being on the computer for half an hour, that's not good."

If you quickly become convinced your shaking hands are Parkinson's disease, or your sore throat is an immune deficiency, you may need to back away from the computer for a while.


* CNN Health December 20, 2007

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