When you start experiencing symptoms you have not encountered before, the first reaction is always to run a Google search and see what the possibilities could be. Amid all the uncertainty, gathering more information seems like the only logical thing to do.
However, sometimes the sources we trust most for information may be unreliable, making self-diagnosis an even bigger problem. Internet searches can be much more dangerous than you might imagine. Once you narrow down your symptoms, you’re probably going to look for treatments for yourself. The internet is a tool you can use responsibly or inappropriately. Below, we’ll discuss why you need to avoid self-diagnosis at all costs.
You might misinterpret the results
Doctors go through years of rigorous training to begin practicing at even a starting level. Their knowledge and experience are vital in helping them diagnose patients accurately and fully understand the implications of mistreatment. However, when you search up your symptoms on the internet, you have no clue to help you interpret what you find. Instead, you can end up with misinterpreted results that confuse you further. Some symptoms are common in numerous medical conditions.
This confusion can only make you feel worse, and any measures you take can impact your health adversely. If you feel intrigued by the results and want to learn more about your condition, get professional help. You don’t necessarily have to book an appointment with the doctor. You can also approach nurses qualified to diagnose your condition. Several nurses complete higher education via MSN and DNP online and offline programs and can diagnose and treat patients without doctors’ supervision. Consider booking an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner instead for a faster diagnosis. It’s more reliable than doing one independently.
Feelings of despair
Feeling a sense of hopelessness is standard if you’ve searched for your symptoms online and found something far worse than what you were expecting. Online symptom checkers are often overly cautious and may present a catastrophic picture of something that might not be a big deal. Health anxiety is increasingly on the rise and often leads to an increased strain on public health systems globally. Patients who would’ve otherwise healed at home start believing they’re in danger and head to hospitals to get the care they feel they deserve but don’t necessarily need.
Cyberchondria – or anxiety due to an online diagnosis is a common side effect. It can have far-reaching consequences in today’s age by overburdening already scarce resources.
It makes the job harder for doctors
After self-diagnosis, many patients do make it to doctors. However, these patients can make it incredibly challenging for doctors to do their jobs, as they don’t trust doctors’ recommendations. Many wrongfully believe that the doctors will downplay their symptoms. Professionals also need to spend a lot of time calming down these patients, especially if they have independently taken some form of treatment.
Furthermore, people actively seeking online diagnoses can interfere with the treatment procedure and make it hard for doctors to act effectively. These patients can start to neglect their medication or treatments because they don’t have faith in the medical system. Doctors thus feel demotivated, as they see it as a challenge to their role. 80% of patients have already checked their symptoms online before heading to the doctor. This fact can be incredibly frustrating for medical practitioners to deal with.
You can take the wrong medication
This is one of the most significant drawbacks of a self-diagnosis, and it comes with potentially long-lasting repercussions. Once people have identified an illness, the next step is to find all possible treatments. People scouring health-related forums will undoubtedly come across the recommended medication. However, taking this medication without professional advice can be bad for your health.
For starters, you might not have the illness you identified at all, and you might be self-medicating for no reason. Even if you do end up being right, you may be taking too high or too low a dose for it to be effective and may instead damage your health. Furthermore, self-medication rarely takes into account your previous medical history. Your body may react badly to any drug you start taking, which can harm your health. So, before taking any medication, you need to consult your doctor.
You may undermine the risk
Many people often conduct online searches because they’re too afraid to head to the doctor and find something seriously wrong with their health. There’s no hiding your symptoms from the doctor, but you can overlook them when you’re searching yourself. You may force yourself to believe you have chest pain because of stress when the underlying cause may be coronary heart disease.
The longer you wait, the worse your symptoms can get and reduce your chances of making a full recovery. Mental health issues are often the most overlooked, and waiting too long can lead to the situation aggravating immensely.
It can cost you heavily
While we’ve already been over the health-related costs of self-diagnoses, it’s also essential to consider the financial setback they can bring. Many people don’t head to the doctor because they don’t want to pay hefty amounts in appointment fees and bills. However, while a self-diagnosis may seem initially cheaper, it is anything but that. You may spend hundreds of dollars on the wrong medication that does nothing to make you feel better. Additionally, the wasted time can worsen your condition immensely, leading to more medical expenses in the future.
Where you would have to spend little initially, you might now have to pay more to undo the damage done by a self-diagnosis. Conversely, if you start to believe you have a severe illness, you may spend a lot of money on tests and medications you don’t need.
In today’s age, it can be hard to take out time to go to the doctor. However, if you’re experiencing any recurring symptoms that cause distress, getting a medical opinion isn’t just the best but the only route to take. You want to ensure that you get the best care possible and make a fast recovery. The only way to do so is with a professional’s opinion and not by relying solely on the information on the Big G!