Whether we like it or not, we now live in an age dominated by the Internet. And that is a double edged sword. If you’re looking for a movie to watch, then you’re in luck. But if you have anxiety and/or depression, then you can actually worsen your mental health by endless Internet searches and the steps you take because of them.
In fact, according to the National Library of Medicine, Cyberchondria is a clinical phenomenon in which repeated Internet searches regarding medical information result in excessive concerns about physical health. And Cyberchondria is positively associated with symptoms of health anxiety. Since the Internet is full of medical misinformation, it’s not hard to understand why this presents serious pitfalls for many.
Cyberchondria can also lead to what is referred to “Internet self-diagnosis” whereby people bypass doctors and other medical professionals completely and just diagnose themselves based on whatever video or webpage they have come across.
Self-diagnosis and treatment based on info off the internet is something I strongly recommend against since there’s evidence that online misinformation is leading to an increase in health anxiety, including psychosomatic disorders.
People should always consult with their healthcare provider before embarking on a significant treatment for a condition, real or imagined to do otherwise has significant health risks.