As far as I'm concerned, Google is the greatest site ever invented in the history of the internet. There's just one problem that I've noticed developing with our generation using it. Every time something happens to us, we Google it, and expect answers or solutions to our problems/situations. The thing about Google, is that some people (not all!) read and interpret everything in such a way that by the time they are finished searching about a cold, they can end up believing they have cancer, a brain tumor, or are going to die.
I feel Google can be extremely helpful when I need a quick remedy or tip to help with the everyday issues such as removing winter salt stains from my black coat, or how do I tell if a mango is ripe again? Don't get me wrong, I do my fair share of Google-ing symptoms when I am not feeling well, or looking up various facts about conditions. I too overreact if I read something that freaks me out, but at the end of the day, I go to my doctor and trust what they have to say over some website. After all, they did attend a little something called medical school for close to a decade.
Hypochondria is a real medical condition where someone becomes paranoid about getting a disease or are certain they have a disease, even after medical tests show they do not. I feel that since Google has gone mainstream, more and more people diagnose themselves with what they read off the internet, rather than going in to a real medical professional to give them a proper medical opinion. Let's face it, we use Google on a daily basis, but the fact that we use it to look up important details with regards to our health, it's making us become overly paranoid, and ultimately hypochondriacs. We are becoming Google dependent, and we need to personally be aware of this new phenomenon.
The reason I decided to write about this new development is the recent spike in witnessing people diagnosing themselves with conditions, even though they have never stepped foot into a medical office or hospital. I think it's about time people are reminded that without a legitimate medical professional's diagnosis, you cannot just Google your symptoms and diagnose yourself having such and such disorder or such and such disease. As someone in the mental health field, my concern is seeing an increase of people believing they have conditions such as depression or panic attacks. I have seen people in specific Facebook Groups suggesting dosages for particular medications or vitamins!
This is a huge problem, and because sometimes people are so desperate for answers, they will believe and try anything. I have personally had so many people tell me that they too have depression, and they did this and that to help when things were hard. But when I ask them if they ever saw a doctor to be diagnosed with depression, they say no. I want to make sure that if you believe you are suffering from these conditions, please see a doctor to get answers before you diagnose yourself and search the internet for solutions. Also, realize which websites are credible for health answers. Wikipedia, Ask.com and Yahoo forums are not professionals.
Although Google is a wonderful tool, its powers can be abused. There are some things that just can't be Googled in life, health being one of them. Log off and see a doctor to ease your worries before diagnosing yourself and trying something after reading it online. Once you have a diagnosis, Google can be an amazing place to search for tips on how to manage symptoms etc. But please, don't believe everything you see or read on the internet, it may lead to cancer.
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