Problems with Self-Diagnosing

As long as medical websites have been around, people have been using them to help determine what kinds of health problems he or she might have. As far as self-diagnosis goes, many of the medical assumptions we make are incorrect or at least inaccurate. Some of the reasons we try to self-diagnose illnesses or medical conditions include doing it because we don’t want to have to pay for visits to the doctor or some do it because they may be apprehensive about going to a hospital if they truly need medical care. Some may even try it if they feel like they need some kind of immediate relief from whatever they are suffering from.

However, issues with self-diagnosing begin to arise when people make medical misconceptions about their conditions that can lead to improper treatment or worsening of their physical problems. Many times, a self-diagnosis can miss problems attributed to the illness of an individual that a doctor would be able to test for themselves. This can lead to even more problems down the road as people continue to avoid having a licensed physician work on them.

Often times, self-diagnosis can lead to people thinking that they “have more problems than they really do”. You often hear of others talking about how they may have checked the WebMD website to analyze their cold symptoms and how they found out (on their own) that they may be suffering from organ failure. Had they consulted a doctor about their problems, they would have been reassured that their symptoms were nothing to be worried about and could be treated with simple over-the-counter medications. There have also more extreme cases where in the patient incorrectly diagnosed themselves and missed a potentially lethal symptom that led up to the contraction of more severe conditions.

It is always best to consult a doctor about symptoms you may be presenting to ensure that the most effective route is taken to treat the condition. The outcome could be disastrous if the wrong care is provided or the problem is incorrectly diagnosed. Communication between doctor and patient is essential to ensuring the overall health and quality of life needed by each individual, yet so many still insist on letting the internet do a doctor’s job for them.



5 thoughts on “Problems with Self-Diagnosing

  1. I know I am very guilty of always self diagnosing, but I am trying to get better about going in to the doctor more often. Once I moved to school, I started going to the doctor a lot less because it was always such a hassle to schedule a visit back in Columbus and I didn’t like the doctors at UC. I totally agree that you should go in to the doctor if you have any concerns. Most of the time symptoms aren’t going to lead to larger health issues, but it is always a good habit to just double check.

    -Katie McNulty


  2. I also am very guilty of self diagnosing even when I have gone to the doctor and have had the chance to be reassured that everything is okay. When it comes to websites like WebMD one symptom can pull up thousands of different things that it can be linked to ranging from a cold to very serious life threatening diseases. This can cause anxiety and reoccurring thoughts for people when they really should not be worrying much in the first place. I suggest to not go on those website and like you said go to your doctor instead. It will give you a sense of relief.


  3. Google served as my doctor for about two years at one pint in my life. I would get sick and search my symptoms to see if I could treat it myself. I didn’t want to take the effort to go to the doctor, or pay the money for the medicine that could make me better faster. I would look up home remedies and other ways of getting better that costed a fraction of what the real medicine was. Then I realized I needed a professional to tell me what was wrong with me. He said the internet is a great source and can help you, but you need a professional to actually diagnose you and give you help.


  4. I definitely self-diagnose and for many years I refused to go to the doctor, for anything. Until last October. I was stung by a swarm of bees outside one night and my mom is severely allergic so she had me take a Benadryl to help but I was still swollen on my hands and neck. I assured her I was breathing fine and I would only go to the hospital if my throat closed up, and it didn’t. I was fine the next day other than the pain from the stings themselves, except for my right pinky finger. It was extremely swollen so I put ice on it and took another Benadryl and some ibuprofen. My mom was worried still but I assured her I was fine and I was certain it would go away. Just a few hours later the swelling had spread all the way to my first finger and up to my wrist. I went to urgent care and it ended up being cellulitis. The doctor said it was a good thing I didn’t wait any longer or I would have been admitted to the hospital and that if it got any worst at all I would have to go. I took the steroids and antibiotics right away and the swelling was down in a few days but my attempt to self-diagnose could have lead to something much more serious.

    ~Maria Diersing


  5. i definitely agree, so many people trust the internet and will freak out if they think they have a disease. Doctors are actually trained though and will be more accurate than any online site. Lauren reinhard


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