Don't let Dr. Internet make you a cyberchondriac

Don't let Dr. Internet make you a cyberchondriac

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Ask the Internet a question and it provides you with an answer -- a lot of answers actually, but not all of them correct ones.

"There's been times I've gone to Google," one woman told Fox 5, "just had a little cough, maybe a little scratch, and all of a sudden I thought I was pregnant."

When the question relates to your health, a wrong answer can leave the Googler panicky and M.D.s like Dr. Michael Frank unnecessarily busy.

"[A lot of patients] have all already looked up their symptoms, their possible illnesses," Dr. Frank said. "They have a diagnosis and a treatment plan before they sit down and get themselves comfortable [in my exam room]."

We call this cyberchondria. According to psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, cyberchondriacs often moonlight as hypochondriacs.

"People who are most susceptible are the ones who spend too much time on the Internet, have too much time on their hands but also tend to have some degree of hypochondria," Dr. Jeff said.

But even if you are a more rational patient, the wrong blog or message board can leave you diagnosing a scratchy throat, a slight temperature and an aching stomach as some never-before-seen hybrid of scurvy, scarlet fever and the black lung.

"A headache?" Dr. Frank said. "Then the patient comes in convinced they have a brain tumor. Most patients with headaches don't have brain tumors."

Worrying, online or off, often leads to more worrying, so Dr. Jeff and Dr. Frank do recommend Dr. Internet, but only in moderation.

"Some [patients] come in with the diagnosis very well thought out and correct," Dr. Frank said.

"It's not gospel," Dr. Jeff said. "Always check with your family physician."

  • HealthMore>>

  • Manhattan nursery school uses sanitizing machine to keep air clean

    Manhattan nursery school uses sanitizing machine to keep air clean

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:50 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:50:43 GMT
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
  • Should you ever ask a woman if she's pregnant?

    Should you ever ask a woman if she's pregnant?

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:52 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:52:11 GMT
    Is she or isn't she? How about her? Her? Him? (Looks it.) She definitely is. (I think.) Have you ever see a woman coming down the street and want to ask "Are you pregnant?" We human beings are curious creatures. It turns out even some 4-year-olds want to know. Justin Otero is now banned for life from the Doughnut Inn in Monroe, Connecticut. It was a harsh price to pay, some say, for such a seemingly innocent mistake.
    Is she or isn't she? How about her? Her? Him? (Looks it.) She definitely is. (I think.) Have you ever see a woman coming down the street and want to ask "Are you pregnant?" We human beings are curious creatures. It turns out even some 4-year-olds want to know. Justin Otero is now banned for life from the Doughnut Inn in Monroe, Connecticut. It was a harsh price to pay, some say, for such a seemingly innocent mistake.
  • Americans shop local and organic for health and ethics

    Americans shop local and organic for health and ethics

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:13:49 GMT
    Five years ago, Sonia Zutic made a life-changing decision: she decided to eat with a conscience. Sonia is among a growing number of adults who swear by food that's strictly organic and free of additives and preservatives. Many have decided that ethical eating is no longer a trendy fad, but is a blueprint to life.
    Five years ago, Sonia Zutic made a life-changing decision: she decided to eat with a conscience. Sonia is among a growing number of adults who swear by food that's strictly organic and free of additives and preservatives. Many have decided that ethical eating is no longer a trendy fad, but is a blueprint to life.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices