If you’re reading this, then you’re probably online and looking for information on your health. Sometimes looking for health info can become an obsession, and it may cause people to spend excessive amounts time worrying about medical conditions. Easy access to online medical information has made it challenging for people to manage their fear of illness, and may have created a pathway to the development health anxiety, now called “cyberchondria.” Obsessional searching for explanations of existing health conditions or even for unexplained bodily symptoms can compel some to repeatedly seek reassurance that they are okay through online searching. However, online medical information cannot substitute for a medical exam by a health provider. People who search online instead of obtaining professional medical opinions often do not receive definitive answer, may continue to experience increased anxiety, and in turn, continue online searches.
Please seek professional medical advice if you have physical concerns. If your health anxiety is impacting your life, please consult with a health psychologist for help. Don’t let the fear give you more medical problems.
From Medscape Tori Rodriguez, MA LPC May 11, 2015