Using Dr. Google to research your symptoms and self-diagnose yourself may seem like the convenient thing to do if you don’t want to waste your time or your doctor’s, but it’s rarely, if ever, the best option.
Finding more reliable medical advice
It’s understandable if you want to save time or money on visiting a doctor. You may struggle to find time to fit in an appointment between work and family commitments. However, you can have a consultation and receive advice from a qualified professional by speaking to a doctor online. You can choose from the best online doctors and pick a time to suit you. Best of all, you can read reviews, so you’ll know which one is best for you.
Resorting to searching your symptoms online instead can lead to all kinds of problems.
You will probably misdiagnose yourself
Searching for your symptoms may bring up the reason you’re not feeling well, but it will also bring up many more illnesses and medical conditions that are not relevant to your case. A medical professional is more qualified to narrow down the possibilities. You have just as much chance, perhaps more, of picking the wrong one as you do of correctly working out which diagnosis applies to you.
It raises anxiety
If you Google minor symptoms, you can start grouping them with other more severe signs of illness. Before you know it, you’ve increased your anxiety levels by imagining the worst and convincing yourself the worst-case scenario is the most likely one, even if all the symptoms don’t match up.
If you already suffer from anxiety, this doesn’t help. Stress can play a part in poor health and worsening existing health problems, so by getting your information online instead of talking to a doctor, you do risk making yourself ill if you weren’t already.
If you’re anxious about operations or injections, finding results that suggest you might need either could prevent you from seeking medical help. It might turn out the problem can be dealt with without either of these. Still, you will only know by talking to a doctor.
Your symptoms could worsen without the proper treatment
Trying to diagnose yourself online could bring up enough information to make you believe you can treat yourself. However, if you’ve misdiagnosed yourself, you’re putting off getting the proper treatment, and if it’s something serious, you could delay receiving the necessary help. If it’s not serious, you should still get treatment quickly, as a delay could mean worsening your health unnecessarily. Getting the correct diagnosis from a professional means fewer complications or risks of making a condition worse. Not only could your symptoms worsen, but it could be costlier for you in the long term, having to spend more on treatment and taking extra time off work.
Following the wrong advice could do more harm than good
Using Google to diagnose a condition not only means putting off treatment if you’ve misdiagnosed yourself, but by following the advice online, you could be doing the opposite of what you should do for your specific health problem. Any over-the-counter pills you take due to online information could antagonize your condition, have severe side effects, or clash with other medications you take. For example, by taking online advice on treating chronic pain, you might make the pain, and the cause of it, worse. By the time you seek help, it will take more time and money to fix, or the damage might be severe.
The advice you find is too generic
Using Google in place of a real doctor lacks the human element. Even if a qualified doctor inputted the advice, he or she doesn’t know you and has never spoken to you. So, the information is generic. It can be a good starting point to bring up concerns with a doctor during a consultation, but it’s not intended to take the place of speaking to a doctor. He or she will be able to delve into your medical history, ask questions about your medical history, family medical history and discuss options and any reasons some things may not specifically work for you.
So, although it may be tempting to save time and money by turning to Google, it’s better for your health, pocket, and lifestyle if you seek out an online consultation with a qualified doctor who can tailor their advice to you. Putting it off can make things worse.