Some suffer from online hypochondria
Search engines can lead people down a path of paranoia, according to a study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. In fact, researchers have coined the term "cyberchondria" to describe anxiety suffered by people as they search for medical information online. This form of online hypochondria develops as uncertainty worsens fears and those fears are fed as a person reads more and more of the potential impacts to their health.
In the study, 512 people assessed how online searches affect their anxiety levels by answering a questionnaire. The more uncomfortable someone is with uncertainty led to a higher amount of anxiety while perusing medical information online. And it’s not just the potential diagnosis some people are worried about. The study noted that others go as far as stressing over possible medical bills, disability, and job loss.
While it’s a good idea to read up on health concerns you may have, it’s always best to ensure the information is from a valid source and to also talk to a health care professional.