We are often told that looking at health symptoms online is a bad thing.
For the most part, this is a good fact to live by. Say you have a persistent headache. If you type symptom into Google, you’ll find the following suggestions for the cause… and you’ll only focus on one of them:
Tension. Muscle aches and pains. Dehydration. Brain tumors. Exhaustion. Overuse of electronics. Looking at screens too long.
It doesn’t matter that it’s almost certainly one of the less terrifying causes behind your throbbing head; you only see “brain tumor”. That’s why it’s not a good idea, in general, to search online regarding physical health.
That is an important distinction. It’s not a good idea for physical health. For mental health, however, you might find everything that you need at your fingertips.
You Can See If You Have An Issue
We all suffer from destructive thinking at times. Maybe we are too negative, find ourselves fixated on the negatives and struggle with intrusive thoughts.
Then there are occasions when this threatens to become overwhelming – and you might not even know it’s a problem. You’ll go into a daily battle with your mind and think it’s normal; what everyone goes through.
But it’s not. When it becomes chronic, those “normal” things have another name: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – as you can see from this overview: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd-topic-overview
Does the idea of that sound scary – self-diagnosing yourself with a mental health condition? While we have years of work taking the stigma from mental health, few of us will still willingly admit to feeling comfortable with the idea of having an issue. So why is it a good thing that you might discover something like this from your own home?
Because it can be treated.
You don’t have to live with unwanted thoughts. If your mind is playing tricks on you and making your life unpleasant, then it might be a condition. Maybe you discover you fit the profile for General Anxiety Disorder using one of the scoring tests for it, or you realize a lot of the schizophrenia test at http://www.schizlife.com/schizophrenia-test/ sounds familiar – it doesn’t matter the condition. No matter how scary it looks, what matters is that knowing you have a problem is the first step. Mental illness only defines you if you let it.
You Can Then Take It To A Doctor
There may be some doctors who dismiss the idea of online research, but they shouldn’t. Most recognize that it can be a vital tool for helping patients identify their issues. If a patient comes in with well-researched concerns, then any medical professional who took their Hippocratic Oath seriously is going to listen.
If you have found something online, then go and take it to a doctor for proper diagnosis. They might disagree – and they might be right to disagree. You can’t be sure that you’re right. But you can be in charge of your medical situation and if you find a condition that chimes with an issue you have been suffering, then you have a right to talk about it.
The reason this can only happen online is because of the aforementioned stigma. We don’t talk about mental health in social situations, so the web is likely the only place that you will find this kind of information unless you directly know an existing sufferer.
You Learn From The Experiences of Others
So much of the information online regarding health is done by untrained laypeople. It’s this fact alone that makes some in the medical profession skeptical of online assistance.
But people aren’t textbooks. We all have different experiences, and that means we might not always be able to identify issues. If you don’t meet a perfect checklist for a condition, it doesn’t mean you don’t have it – it just means you’re experiencing it differently.
Very few people who talk about their experience online will report a point-by-point textbook-friendly list of their experience. There will be variations, changes, differences – all things you can only pick up through reading experiences.
Not only that, but there are a plethora of communities who will be willing to help you on your way. We may associate some of the internet with trolls and unkindness, but there is also a wealth of people waiting to help anyone who needs it.
So don’t suffer in silence. Be aware of your mental health and use the information you can find online to guide you. Physical health should probably be kept offline, but that’s only because we discuss physical health regularly in society. Until mental health reaches that point, use all the weapons in your artillery to improve yours.