Cyberchondria

 Mental health has always been an under-rated topic in India. People don’t like the idea of talking about their mental illness let alone the mental illness of others. However, it is one of the most important parts of any individual’s live because if someone suffers from a mental illness, an impact is caused on their day-to-day working. Mental illness is a health condition that affects the emotions, thinking, or behaviour of a person. It is associated with distress or problems related to the functioning in social, work, or a family set-up. Sometimes mental illnesses can run in the family and can pass on from genes to the future generations.

One such mental illness is Cyberchondria. The term was first coined in 2001in an article in the United Kingdom newspaper to describe ‘the excessive use of the internet health sites to fuel health anxiety. Cyberchondria refers to a person’s anxiety regarding their health which is created by the use of internet to search for medical information. It is believed to affect more as the use of internet among people has been increased a lot. Many people with the access to internet turn to it for their self diagnosis as a vast of amount of information is available with only a few clicks. For some the information may be true and relatable but for others it can cause severe anxiety as the information they find online can get them to worry too much.

CAUSES OF CYBERCHONDRIA

It is likely for people with pre-existing anxiety and depression to experience Cyberchondria. There is an enormous amount of information available online however it is not always true or factual. Blogs or online support groups provide information about any disease or any other topic based on other people’s experiences which may not be fit for all. Many websites prey on the fears of the people to deliberately sell them unapproved treatment and earn loads of money. New mothers may also Google about their new babies and find information that can be stressing making them prone to this disease.

These are the factors that convince people that they suffer from some disease based on the common or vague symptoms. Sometimes such symptoms can be of some normal flu but the internet and provide an exaggerated result due to which people get anxious. People who suffer from Cyberchondria are known to be hyper aware of their bodies and the misinformation can increase their anxiety which can make their symptoms worse.

COPING WITH CYBERCHONDRIA

There are some simple steps that people with Cyberchondria may use to cope up with the illness like the first being to restrict the use of internet and avoiding it to search information regarding your health problems or to only look for information from trusted sites that provide data which is scientifically and medically approved. Also it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle which includes proper sleep, regular exercise, good nutrition, and other things for good health; one can also schedule a routinely checkup with their doctor and if they face symptoms that linger on for a few days, then they should go and seek help from a doctor rather than going to internet and performing a self diagnosis as a doctor is a more reliable source than internet.

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