Dr. Google. Can you rely on him?
In today’s information age, it is so easy to get access to everything you want to know. However, when it comes to your health, how reliable can you trust main search engines like “Dr. Google?”
Google is a search engine that gathers information from various sources to your fingertips. These sources can be government sites, news articles, doctor’s private practices, professional blogs, social media posts, and the list goes on. Now, knowing that bodes the vital question: Can you rely on Dr. Google for your health information?
Can you rely on Dr. Google for your health information?
The answer is yes, and no. There is definitely information you can google search that can further your knowledge of health conditions, possible treatments, natural remedies, even differing cultural remedies, and so forth.
However, Dr. Google cannot accurately diagnose your symptoms and mental health status.
In fact, using Dr. Google as your first source or main source of health information can increase your state of anxiety. A simple example, you’ve noticed you have had a cough for the last few days and searched conditions that can cause this cough. Dr. Google will give you a range of answers from a simple cold to near-death pneumonia.
This answer, or lack of one, can cause your anxiety to increase because you are unsure if your cough is actually harmless or very harmful. Using Dr. Google in this way is not beneficial for the question you need to be answered nor your emotional well-being.
Is the same true for mental health?
Yes, the same is true for mental health. For example, you may feel like you are thinking abnormal violent thoughts you are unfamiliar with. Googling reasons to get these intrusive thoughts will give you everything from the typical passage of intrusive thoughts to postpartum anxiety to severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each condition lies in the range from normal to severe and has the same common symptom: intrusive thoughts.
Someone with intrusive thoughts may experience an increase in anxiety after learning of the various diagnosis related to the symptom they have. This anxiety is quite unnecessary as going in to see a therapist or other mental health professional can more accurately diagnose your condition specific to your personal history and physical health.
Dr. Google is usually used to find answers. However, quite the opposite occurs, and the increase of uncertainty results in an increase of anxiety.
When is Dr. Google helpful?
There is a lot of valuable and reliable information out there. However, how useful the information is for your physical and mental health depends on how you use it.
Dr. Google can be beneficial when you already have an idea of what you have and are looking for. For example, you know you have post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Google can help you learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder and give you a more in-depth understanding of the condition. It can also be a useful tool to supplement your therapy treatment. You may bring in some new information to ask your therapist for your next visit.
You can also get information on other natural ways survivors have dealt with their symptoms and success stories in their recovery. This information can have a positive effect on your mental health and aid you in your journey.