Are you a cyberchondriac? | Jabbering Journo column

Are we a nation of cyberchondriacs?
Are we a nation of cyberchondriacs?
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The GP drops her head in her hands as you explain - ever so patiently - that you have diagnosed yourself via the font of knowledge that is Dr Google and the prognosis is not good.

And she should call an ambulance immediately.

This scenario, to varying degree, plays itself out in every single doctors surgery in the land every day.

Because these days we are not so much hypochondriacs as cyberchondriacs - and that actually is an official diagnosis.

We all have access to the internet and too much information can definitely be a bad thing - in fact it’s a prescription for ill health.

Studies say 80 per cent of internet users have searched for medical symptoms online - I know I have and if you are being honest you have too.

There’s nothing quite like suffering with a bad headache and going online to self-diagnose with Elephantine flu, Ebola or Smallpox.

After a sleepless night, you wake convinced you are at death’s door or at the very least need to call in sick - cyberchondria actually makes you ill.

Not least as you stayed awake staring at a glowing screen.

The situation has got so bad there is now an official scale to measure cyberchondria - called the cyberchondria Severity Scale ( CSS)

This is just the latest modern disease to infect us gullible humans - there’s even an official condition called Selfitis - an addiction to taking selfies and posting them on social media.

It’s those souls who cannot miss a moment in life without their reverse camera and the self approbation of getting a good shot of their own mug.

It’s an actual addiction and considered a mental health problem with it’s own Selfitis Behaviour Scale.

Then there’s nomophobia; the fear of not being near a mobile phone and technoference, a condition arising from the constant intrusion of technology in everyday life.

One might even think it was a cyberchondriac who invented these conditions in the first place.

The good news is that for most of us cyberchondria is not life threatening.

And Google can be informative - just be aware you may be falling in its clutches.

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