More and more people seek to self-diagnose their disease using information available on the internet rather than consulting a doctor. A phenomenon called cyberchondria.
In the event of a suspicious pimple or localized pain, your reflex is to search the internet for what disease could correspond to your symptoms? You are not alone. According to a recent Eurostat statistical study, more than one in two French people opt for this option instead of consulting a doctor.
This mania has been renamed cyberchondria, taken from the term “hypochondria” popularized by Molière and which describes the obsessive fear of a serious illness. Cyberchondriacs will feed their fear of disease by seeking information on search engines and focusing on the sometimes frightening results. But if headaches are the most common symptom of a brain tumor, many other diseases can explain this pain.
56% of French people concerned
“Over the past decade, the share of people seeking health information online has grown in almost all EU Member States, with an overall increase of 17 points since 2011 (38%),” notes The report. The country that concentrates the most cyberchondriacs is Finland. 80% of respondents in this country say they have searched the internet for information related to their health in the three months preceding the survey. The Netherlands (77%) and Denmark (75%) follow. In France, 56% of respondents did this type of research over this period.
While research on the internet can sometimes help find solutions to relieve symptoms, this should not turn into an obsession and be a factor of anxiety. In the event of an unusual symptom, only a doctor is able to make a diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate treatment.
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