Hypochondriacs are prevalent in today's society, but with the power of the internet, apparently we have developed into cyberchondriacs too.
When we visit websites like WebMD.com our initial intentions are to just get an idea of why we are feeling so ill. As we all know (and I know you have done this at least once) we begin self-diagnosing ourselves with rare ailments and unknown diseases based on the basic information with which the website has provided us. I know a friend that does it and I know I've done it. This "medical goose chase," as a CNN article calls it, is becoming more common.
Now, how do we avoid becoming cyberchondriacs? Well, again, according to CNN, "Plan in advance what you want to find out, what the questions is you're trying to answer and how much time you're willing to spend on it." Thank you CNN, for your generic response and unhelpful recommendation because that is obviously easier said than done.
So, IS there a way to avoid being a cyberchondriac? Maybe. My personal suggestion is to visit an actual physician and quit self diagnosing yourself, silly.
Although this information can be useful, if used realistically and constructively, the real question is...are these websites hurting us in the long run? Are websites like WebMD creating mayhem instead of comfort? That's for you "aspiring doctors" out there to decide.