Cyberchondria……Is Dr. Google infiltrating our heads?
Cyberchondria – Uh Huh……the fears we get from reading too much from Dr. Google. It is not empowering with knowledge, but debilitating with anxiety. And worse of all – people are self diagnosing.
I remember when I was studying in high school and college, um, before the internet and the resident Dr. Google, I was a health sciences student – I majored in psychology & chemistry. The worse was abnormal psych. I was actually fearful and diagnosed myself with every illness.
Well now its far easier to self diagnose ourselves with every physiological & psychological illness, driving us to cyberchondria.
- Remember how it was said “get a second opinion”? Googling our symptoms and concerns can lead to far more than “second opinions”. Check out carefully the credentials of the author, institution…anyone can call themselves an expert. As I always say, my chihuahua could post something on the internet. OK, she happens to be a very smart chihuahua, but no, she is not an accredited healthcare professional.
- Send those junk emails to spam. Those emails that promise you …the “unpromiseable”. You know, the cures, achieving the unthinkable, discount drugs and supplements, ignore them all – and please do not click on any links. Scaremongering is a tactic to play with the head. A reputable source will not be sending out spam.
- Do not take anything, supplement or otherwise, unless consulted with a healthcare professional. The truth is you could be creating an issue, or, have an interaction with medication.
- Researchers have proven that the constant checking – attempts to self diagnose – that we go through online actually increase, rather than decrease, anxiety about physical ailments. We are not helping ourselves.
- Be an active partner with your healthcare professionals. Keep a personal health record. Record any symptoms & go for regular checkups. Discuss with your healthcare professionals any symptoms or issues you might be having – but leave out the judgment and diagnosis. Leave that to the professionals.
- Sure get educated. There are a number of great, reliable health sites from reputable organizations. Get on the email list and learn. Feel confident you are learning from reliable resources. Any of these reliable resources, will tell you to never self diagnose, and their information is to never replace seeking help from healthcare professionals.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet, get exercise & physical activity, breathe, have fun. It is overwhelming how living a healthy, balanced lifestyle can help you analyze more logically.
- You take control, don’t let the internet control you. Be a savvy researcher. A researcher knows what goes into forming a conclusion, it is far beyond cyber surfing. Use reliable sites to learn, not to diagnose. Ask your medical doctor, naturopaths…whatever healthcare professionals you have entrusted with your health which sites they recommend. Use the information to ask informed questions, not to judge and panic. Health literacy is to be commended.
- The same goes for apps. Just because someone has an app does NOT make them a health expert.
- If you are blessed to have access to Tele-health or Tele-medicine, contact them with your concerns. Check out employee health programs, community health programs that have validated the authenticity of the providers. Get engaged. Become a health ambassador in your company and community.
Remember: Psychologists tell us, the experience of being left alone with our own thoughts can potentially turn out to be anything but relaxing. In fact, it can be downright anxiety producing. Ever woken up in a cold sweat? Our minds can have a tendency to race, running away with our concerns. Thoughts can spiral out of control, building a web of anxiety and confusion that is not easy to claw through the panic and back to reality. Decipher the cyberchondria from reality. Taking deep breaths, counting to five while inhaling and five as exhaling, can help alleviate fears. Go for a walk and deep breathe, tickle your senses with joy.
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“Abbey Normal” Brain, Young Frankenstein……Enjoy!
Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health
- Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
- Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
- Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
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- Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 15 years:
Articles featured in: European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio