Not only is self-diagnosing bad, but it can also be dangerous. If you jump to conclusions about the condition you’re suffering from, you may begin wrongful treatment. When individuals self-diagnosis psychological syndromes, they can miss a medical disease that contributes to their symptoms. With self-diagnosis you also run the risk of being completely wrong about an illness you have, especially if the symptoms you are experiencing are common.
In some cases self-diagnosis can be life-threatening. For example, a brain tumor can cause changes in personality, as well as depression or psychosis — or if you self-diagnosis a panic disorder, you may miss the diagnosis of heart or thyroid issues. Another example is if you are experiencing common symptoms like a headache, your search results for potential causes can range from a brain tumor to simple dehydration. Self-diagnosis is bad and is a dangerous practice, if you are experiencing any worrying symptoms contact a doctor instead of being misled by the internet.
There are also many instances when you miss something that you yourself do not see. For example, you may feel as though you’re crippled by anxiety, leading you to believe you have an anxiety disorder. While this may be the case, an anxiety disorder often covers up a major depressive disorder. As many as two third of people who seek treatment for anxiety also have depression.
The available research on self-diagnosis is telling and concerning. A study from the pew research center found that only around half of people that look online for information tell their doctors about what they discovered. In many of these cases, individuals believe what they uncover from search engines, often acting without consulting an outside source.
The reason self diagnosis is bad because of the way the internet is designed in terms of keywords and algorithms. Search engines often provide information on some of the most serious ailments, showcasing these ailments first. For example, study conducted by Microsoft found that when searching for the symptom headache, “brain tumor” showcased the same probability as the diagnosis “caffeine withdrawal.” This study was the first of its kind to examine the term “cyberchondria” — which initially emerged in 2000. This term refers to the practice of leaping to conclusions while someone researches health-related matters online.