Self-diagnosis with Dr. Google, Nurse Bing, and Therapist About.com

The feelings of fear and anxiety resemble a soda bottle that is shaken, the contents build up pressure that may explode into a very serious, if not messy situation. The mind becomes disorganized and preoccupied with fears that are real or feel very real, as the heart mimics a fish flipping back and forth as if it was dropped on dry sand. This feeling comes with waves of nausea, beads of sweat drip down over the clammy or hot skin like condensation on a icy cold glass.   A person may feel like Atlas, with the weight of the world upon their shoulders and dropping the ball is out of the question. Who says that the ball has to be dropped? What if it could be handed to someone else for a few minutes? Would the world end?

Among millennials, anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental disorder ahead of depression and substance issues. Twenty five percent of college students have anxiety disorders, only ten percent of those college students seek out treatment. The prime reason why the rest are afraid to reach out for help is due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Instead they are seeking out self-diagnosis’s with Dr. Google, Nurse Bing, and Therapist About.com.   Although, the fear of being stigmatized by peers and faculty is very real, the internet should never be the diagnostic tool of choice. Legitimate medical help from a mental or medical health professional is a better choice, since forty one percent of medical information on the internet is counterfactual.

Cyber self-diagnosis is dangerous, millennials have become overwhelmingly obsessed upon looking up the smallest health related issue that WebMD has become their number one bookmark. This is a cause for concern since many users are developing traits toward a condition coined as “cyberchondriasis”. Cyberchondriasis is a type of hypochondriasis that develops when a person, who is on the internet, identifies with the symptom that lead to one or more conditions. The individual then convinces him or herself that he or she is suffering from those conditions without an accurate medical diagnosis from a trained medical professional. The majority of people are receiving misleading information regarding their health from the content they read online. By not seeking out a mental or medical health professional, the online “guidance” may only intensify the problem over time.

The internet is not all deficient, there are some points to address, forums and other support sites can help someone understand they are not alone with their feelings of anxiety and fear.   Reading the experiences and thoughts of other people, can be of great value in understanding that no one is alone in these feelings. The world wide web can help a person find strength and support from others in the world who are also are experiencing anxiety, depression, panic attacks and other issues. This support can help others to begin their search for answers and seek out professional help.

There is no need to suffer in solitude, many of those the same age are experiencing similar situations.   There are several things a person can do to get help; visit the campus health or counseling center and ask about services, call the psychology or behavioral health department and ask about sessions with graduate students, visit the schools chaplain, visit your doctor to recommend a therapist, talk to a trusted family member, or find a therapist in your area.

This article was written by Laurell Morse, a writer for dusk magazine. 

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About The Serial Scribbler (21 Articles)
In the past, I have held jobs as an artist, personal care attendant, cashier and even a shoe saleswoman. The best job I have had the pleasure doing is being a mother, its full time and the pay is always wonderful. The payoff is not in green but in something far more valuable, the satisfaction of a job well done and the love of doing it. From there, I decided to continue my education. I went back to school and currently working on my BA in Psychology with a minor in English and literature.

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