The Menace of Internet Self-Diagnosis
One of the most alarming issue recently is how people tend to self-diagnose through Internet.
Nowadays, social media has been a pioneer platform in sharing tons of news and information among people of all age, race and demographic. However, most of it are being spread without validating the bona fide of the news. As such, we are all victims of a false news when we are convinced and rely on such unliable facts. Thus, one of the most alarming issue recently is how people tend to self-diagnose through Internet. As you may aware the mental health issues are rising alertly on the news and public are encouraging the awareness of it to seek professional help. As a health profession, I am immensely glad that such support and awareness to those in need become more ubiquitous.
However there has been moments where I’d face with clients that came with self-diagnosed. I was once told by a client with this following statement, “according to Facebook infographic, I am having a depression”. Thus, it is not surprising such statement is being more frequently to GP and doctors with clients that came with own diagnostic.
It is undeniable that surfing through the Internet are helpful for the clients to get quick answer from reliable source. But in the contrary; Please note that reliable sources are ultimately important. It is undeniable that Internet does help some patients to spare themselves from marketing schemes however self-diagnosis eventually bringing more distress than good and here is why.
Clients who self-diagnose bring unnecessary fear to themselves hence creating irrelevant paranoia which might worsen the condition. For instance, the searching for a cause of headache symptom can be as straightforward as due to sleep deprived yet on the contrary turns out to be brain tumour on the Internet search. The chances of sleep deprive in point fact are higher than brain tumour. Due to a misguided digging on internet, this sleep deprived person will be redundantly undergoing through an MRI scan when all he needs is just a good night sleep. As the result, the patient not only wasted time and resources on misguided diagnosis but might also eventually aggravate the condition that causes unnecessary anxiety.
Besides that, self-diagnosis could foster redundant marketing scheme. It is common nowadays with some of façade therapies out there work based on pseudoscience. The result not only It is unhelpful for the condition but also squandered on the hard-earned cash of the clients. It is always highly advisable to seek a professional with modernized skills and knowledge to gain a respectful insight and diagnosis which in such case is beneficial to the client’s need in improving their distress.
Now, this article isn’t meant to discourage the public to fathom more on health knowledges. In fact, I always encourage everyone to unravel and be constantly updating themselves with reading materials. However always remember to get a legitimate self-check questionnaire. If there is any doubt or worry, then seek a professional for advice and suggestions to probe what might be the right things to implement. After you are able to understand the full picture of your condition, feel free to do the googling without having to dread on ambiguous details on the internet.
Comparing to 10 to 20 years ago, we are living in a technologically savvy world; any information is just clicking away from the screen. Please do bear in mind, “with great power comes great responsibility” and we as the responsible public must use this advantage wisely especially when our life and the life of our loved ones are at stake.
By: Mr Travis Lye - SOL Psychologist