Don't let Dr. Internet make you a cyberchondriac - New York News

Don't let Dr. Internet make you a cyberchondriac

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Ask the Internet a question and it provides you with an answer -- a lot of answers actually, but not all of them correct ones.

"There's been times I've gone to Google," one woman told Fox 5, "just had a little cough, maybe a little scratch, and all of a sudden I thought I was pregnant."

When the question relates to your health, a wrong answer can leave the Googler panicky and M.D.s like Dr. Michael Frank unnecessarily busy.

"[A lot of patients] have all already looked up their symptoms, their possible illnesses," Dr. Frank said. "They have a diagnosis and a treatment plan before they sit down and get themselves comfortable [in my exam room]."

We call this cyberchondria. According to psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, cyberchondriacs often moonlight as hypochondriacs.

"People who are most susceptible are the ones who spend too much time on the Internet, have too much time on their hands but also tend to have some degree of hypochondria," Dr. Jeff said.

But even if you are a more rational patient, the wrong blog or message board can leave you diagnosing a scratchy throat, a slight temperature and an aching stomach as some never-before-seen hybrid of scurvy, scarlet fever and the black lung.

"A headache?" Dr. Frank said. "Then the patient comes in convinced they have a brain tumor. Most patients with headaches don't have brain tumors."

Worrying, online or off, often leads to more worrying, so Dr. Jeff and Dr. Frank do recommend Dr. Internet, but only in moderation.

"Some [patients] come in with the diagnosis very well thought out and correct," Dr. Frank said.

"It's not gospel," Dr. Jeff said. "Always check with your family physician."

  • HealthMore>>

  • Diabetes Patients May Face Higher Risk of Head, Neck Cancers

    Diabetes Patients May Face Higher Risk of Head, Neck Cancers

    Diabetes Patients May Face Higher Risk of Head, Neck Cancers Head and neck cancers were more common in diabetes patients in recent study (dailyRx News) Diabetes is known to increase many health risks like heart...
    Diabetes Patients May Face Higher Risk of Head, Neck Cancers Head and neck cancers were more common in diabetes patients in recent study (dailyRx News) Diabetes is known to increase many health risks like...
  • Many Seniors Had Multiple Chronic Illnesses

    Many Seniors Had Multiple Chronic Illnesses

    Many Seniors Had Multiple Chronic Illnesses Life expectancy decreased with diagnosis of each additional condition (dailyRx News) Many older Americans deal with more than one serious medical condition at a time. New...
    Many Seniors Had Multiple Chronic Illnesses Life expectancy decreased with diagnosis of each additional condition (dailyRx News) Many older Americans deal with more than one serious medical condition at a...
  • Irregular Shift Work May Be Linked to Diabetes

    Irregular Shift Work May Be Linked to Diabetes

    Irregular Shift Work May Be Linked to Diabetes Diabetes risk increased especially in men who worked rotating or night shifts (dailyRx News) People who work the graveyard shift may have bigger health problems to...
    Irregular Shift Work May Be Linked to Diabetes Diabetes risk increased especially in men who worked rotating or night shifts (dailyRx News) People who work the graveyard shift may have bigger health...
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:26:44 GMT
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
  • New York's smallest piece of private land

    New York's smallest piece of private land

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:13 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:13:43 GMT
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
  • Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:37:29 GMT
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices