Self-Diagnosis

In today's world, people are always concerned about their health. At the sign of the smallest symptoms like a cough or an itch, people are searching the internet for answers. They think just typing a couple symptoms in is enough for a complete diagnosis. Doing this is not safe at all though. Doctors go through years and years of training before being allowed to make a diagnosis.

The first place many people go when they start to get any symptoms are websites like WebMD. Websites like this give people the chance to type in symptoms and see the possible illnesses or injuries they might have. However, the individual is using a computer to diagnose themself so as expected, results vary. These websites might warn you of cancer when you just have a common cold, or tell you not to worry about your cough that may actually be a serious health issue, both of which are very serious issues. An under-diagnosis could leave someone thinking they are fine and not seek any medical attention until it’s too late. An over-diagnosis can cause panic and irrational decisions. The smartest thing to do if you are feeling any concern about your health is to see an expert.

The area it seems that the most self-diagnoses are given is mental health, especially in teens. Because of the way the world works now, every teen deals with anxiety, stress, and sadness. Having to keep up with hours of school work each day, sports and clubs, pleasing their parents, and maintaining a social life is a lot to ask of a kid. With having all these responsibilities, it is obvious that kids are dealing with some stress. However there are major differences between this and actual mental disorders. Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression are very serious issues. They affect the everyday lives of people and get in the way of them doing average things. They can require actual medicine which changes actual neurotransmitters in the brain. Typical teen stress is far from this. What all experts recommend is that if you are feeling sad or stressed you need to talk with someone. Telling people your problems and deciding to work towards fixing them is the smartest way to go, and seeing a doctor or counselor is also a great option if you feel like you may need some extra support.

In the end, any kind of health risk is very serious. If you are concerned at all about something isn’t right, you should see a doctor to tell you what’s wrong. There is no way an online quiz or website can analyze your symptoms and give you an accurate diagnosis. If you want to have cancer suggested as your problem every time, WebMD is the way to go.

Infographic and Story by Braden Hurley

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