Posted on: Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Posted at: 2:40 PM

Hypochondriasis is defined as worry over an imagined illness with exaggeration of symptoms, no matter how insignificant, that lasts for at least six months and causes significant distress.

It seems that becoming a hypochondriac is much easier than it used to be. The medical community has even gone so far as to coin a fancy schmancy new name for this latest calamity—cyberchondria.

Back in the olden days, a hypochondriac would have to make a search or examination of medical books and journals, as well as call upon various health practitioners for an answer or information pertaining to any number of diseases, disorders, and conditions. No doubt a painstaking task back in the day!

Today, there is an abundance of health information available on the internet.

Most cyberchondriacs are often not particularly careful about where they get their health information—and that can lead to serious misinformation.

For many hypochondriacs, before the advent of the internet, a half-remembered harrowing health stories in a movie of the week about someone with a lengthy illness is considered legitimate and reliable source.

But this new breed of hypochondriac—the cyberchondriac—is using the vast and unregulated health information available on the internet, and that can lead to serious trouble.

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2007-10-16  »  scc