Friday, March 24, 2023

Cyberchondria: this is how the fear of getting sick feeds on the internet

A symptom of cyberchondria or digital hypochondria is a research compulsion to find out if the disease we assume is serious.

How many times a day do we use a web search engine to find out more about something we’ve read or been told? You can find everything you’re looking for on the web, but so much information can overwhelm us. Cyberchondria is a so-called condition that results from indiscriminate research on health information.

What is cyberchondria?

Health is one of the questions about which we tend to seek more information online. It is estimated that more than 60% of Spaniards do it frequently, the most frequent researches are, on the one hand, a healthy lifestyle, and on the other, diseases, their symptoms and their treatments.

The information contained in the important scientific portals is very reliable. But it can become harmful when it becomes an obsession and compulsive searches become. This behavior hides the need to confirm whether we are suffering from a disease that we commonly assume is serious. When these behaviors are dissociated, we have the phenomenon of cyberchondria, which is also called digital hypochondria. It is a disorder that refers to obsessive and pathological behaviors, a state of constant concern for the state of health.

Fear can have a serious illness due to abstinence and effects on hypochondriacal disorder. It is very common for people with this condition to go online to search uncontrollably for information about the symptoms they have or think they have and end up self-diagnosing the illness. It is estimated that approximately 5% of the Internet population is affected by cybercrime.

How is this disorder manifested?

These networks tend to pay too much attention to their bodies, focus on symptoms that tend to be trivial or non-existent and magnify them by thinking obsessively. This is why they go online to search for information about supposed illnesses until they find a proper diagnosis that seems to satisfy them.

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However, in order to alleviate their anxiety, when the symptoms they suffer from are not serious, they enter thought loops that lead them to search, over and over, for new information about their health.

The findings may produce momentary or partial relief and alleviate the anxiety that characterizes this problem. However, thoughts of predominance soon manifest themselves again, in the search for new evidence, which rejects the information previously obtained. This leads people to complete one more search, thus, the repetition of this behavior in turn increases the initial anxiety, with which they are caught in a vicious cognitive cycle from which it is difficult to escape.

The difference between hypochondria and cyberchondria is the medium they use to obtain information that helps them overcome their worst fears. In the first case, it is usual to go to the family doctor or a specialist, while in the second option the use of online information is used.

Evidence of cybercrime

Searching for information on the internet about the state of our health is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when you feel the need to carry out an insatiable search for information that never appeases your anxiety, you may encounter a problem.

How do you know you have cyberchondria? This disorder is characterized by a series of symptoms that may appear gradually and recur. Obsessive behavior around knowledge of modern health is evident, which includes the obsessive searches for information we mentioned above.

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Having obsessive and intense thoughts and frequent worries about whether we have a serious illness is another characteristic that you need to pay attention to. In the same way, if you find someone who confirms that you do not have any disease, you do not feel relieved, but rather uncertain.

Most of the time you find yourself interpreting the information you find or the signs that you suffer from in a disaster and usually reaching the worst possible conclusions. Finally, it is also a sign of distrust towards health professionals who do not support the conclusions they have reached when doing your research on the net.

What should I do in this problem?

As a first step, if you feel constant anxiety about your health, see a specialist doctor. If after this consultation you find that your pain does not subside, it is best to consult a psychologist who knows how to help treat anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy is especially useful in these cases.

Disconnection from the virtual world is another necessary measure to overcome and relieve cybercrime. In the event that you need to search for information, only access certain pages. There is a lot of scientific information in the text and also many professional journalists who have their own health issues to help digest and interpret this information using their own sources.

Undoubtedly, in these times of fraud and misinformation, offering truthful information to users is one of the key ethics of journalism and communication. If you want to become a broadcaster on health-related issues, our master’s degrees in journalism and journalism courses can help you achieve your goal.

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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