Cyberchondria or Coincidence? How Iatrogenic Death Shadows the Growth of the Internet

Over a year ago

The internet is full of information. It is a data piñata so stuffed that if you hit it, your baseball bat would split in two. But remember that old adage about quality vs. quantity? It’s never been more relevant than now, in the age of digital health searches and rampant self-diagnosis.

Way back when, by which we mean less than 20 years ago, if you had a strange rash or a suspicious lump or a pain, you either had to visit a real doctor, pluck up the courage to ask a friend or relative, go to the library in disguise, or die in silence and shame.

Most people seeking answers then were genuinely sick, but some would have been hypochondriacs. The condition, described as abnormal anxiety about one’s health and imagined illness (even to the point of psychosomatic symptoms), has been around for centuries, and recently it has grown a new branch: cyberchondria. "Before the internet, it was called medical student's disease," says Dr. Aaron Krasnow, associate vice president of Arizona State University’s Counseling Services and Health Services, in an interview with //">The State News

. "The thing about medical students is that they learn about so many diseases and disorders, they start to think they have them… The internet is filled with an enormous amount of fantastic information. It is also filled with an enormous amount of terrible information. One of the things the internet does poorly is filter the information."