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Dr Google

Cuchculan

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Just about anyone with Internet access and a body that occasionally goes haywire has had the experience of googling their symptoms and watching, horrified, as the results stream in. Headache = brain tumor! Sharp pain in your side = punctured lung! Sore post-workout legs = deep vein thrombosis!

"Yes, you might have a rash, and, yes, you might have seen something somewhere about cancer," In your case, however, it's probably just eczema.

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Never self-diagnose. Spending time furiously searching symptoms on your iPhone, then declaring you've got X, Y, or Z can be downright dangerous. First off, it can keep you from getting the help you actually need. (Yes, "eye herpes" is a thing. But reading more about it doesn't cure whatever's happening actually with your eye.)

Restrain yourself from acting on Dr. Google's advice. "It's one thing to try a vegan diet or a Paleo diet because you've read good things about them online," "But it's a very different thing to go out, read information about a health condition, and then try to apply it to yourself."

Always consider the source. "A lot of times, people read a personal story and they say, Hey, that sounds like me. That's my problem too!' and they get very worked up, and may even take a course of action that isn't actually relevant to them,". "On the flip side, some of the big academic centers have really reliable information, but they're taking the broadest, 1,000-foot view of a particular condition."

Look for credentials. Just because someone has a popular blog does not mean they know what they're talking about, whether they're dishing about fitness, a particular treatment, or something nutrition-related. "Pretty pictures of food do not equal expertise,". And don't just fall for good SEO—the first Google results aren't necessarily the most accurate.

If you feel that urge to Google, stop yourself, post what you were about to Google in this thread instead. Why you were about to Google it too. Share with us your stories about other times you have Googled. How exactly it made you feel.
 
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AnthonyMG

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Seems like I might be the exception. I've been using Google in the last 5 months to reassure myself that the terrible diagnosis that an ENT gave me is not correct so that my anxiety levels can be reduced with the help of the results of my search.

Not saying that this article is not correct, because of course it is (at least to some extent), I'm just saying that there's always the other side of the coin.

You have horrible symptoms, your exams find nothing that can explain the symptoms, a negligent doctor decides to give you a terrifying diagnosis (probably because his ego does not allow him to admit that he has no idea), you get severe anxiety from that diagnosis, other doctors say that the diagnosis makes no sense at all, but the symptoms remain and are compatible with the diagnosis you were given and so, the only help you can get to reduce anxiety is Googling to search for evidence that the diagnosis just can't be right.

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Fraser

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Seems like I might be the exception. I've been using Google in the last 5 months to reassure myself that the terrible diagnosis that an ENT gave me is not correct so that my anxiety levels can be reduced with the help of the results of my search.

Not saying that this article is not correct, because of course it is (at least to some extent), I'm just saying that there's always the other side of the coin.

You have horrible symptoms, your exams find nothing that can explain the symptoms, a negligent doctor decides to give you a terrifying diagnosis (probably because his ego does not allow him to admit that he has no idea), you get severe anxiety from that diagnosis, other doctors say that the diagnosis makes no sense at all, but the symptoms remain and are compatible with the diagnosis you were given and so, the only help you can get to reduce anxiety is Googling to search for evidence that the diagnosis just can't be right.

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Sorry to hear you are going through this. Did you get a second opinion from another ENT?
 

AnthonyMG

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Thanks my friend.

Yes. It's been a long nightmare which apparently is far from over.

I got the "bad" diagnosis by the 5th of March. Then I had to get a second opinion right after, which I got by the 15th of March. The other ENT says that the diagnosis I was given does not make sense. Then, an gastroenterologist shared the same opinion with me. An allergy specialist, has the same opinion and so does my "family" doctor.

But the fact is that as the first ENT said it would never get better and so far he is right. And the symptoms are so compatible to what he diagnosed that I'm finding it very hard to make my mind and definitely believe that the diagnosis is wrong. With that, Google helped me a lot. I'm now around 70% convinced that the diagnosis is wrong and, without google, I think I would be in the 50% or less certainty.

The other suspicion (in case the diagnosis is really wrong) would be globus pharyngeus. But to get treat for that condition (which is kind of a psychiatric condition) it is important that the patient (me) is totally convinced that he has nothing physically wrong. And the negligent assumption from that ENT is making it much harder than it would be.

That's all for the "on-topic" comments from my side. For any other details you are most welcome to check the situation in my thread, entitled "Severe anxiety from possible chronic illness (Hypochondria?)"

I think I can't share a link, even though it's a link to this same forum, but it's easy to find, just below this thread in the "Health Anxiety (Hypochondria)" subforum.

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Fraser

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Thanks my friend.

Yes. It's been a long nightmare which apparently is far from over.

I got the "bad" diagnosis by the 5th of March. Then I had to get a second opinion right after, which I got by the 15th of March. The other ENT says that the diagnosis I was given does not make sense. Then, an gastroenterologist shared the same opinion with me. An allergy specialist, has the same opinion and so does my "family" doctor.

But the fact is that as the first ENT said it would never get better and so far he is right. And the symptoms are so compatible to what he diagnosed that I'm finding it very hard to make my mind and definitely believe that the diagnosis is wrong. With that, Google helped me a lot. I'm now around 70% convinced that the diagnosis is wrong and, without google, I think I would be in the 50% or less certainty.

The other suspicion (in case the diagnosis is really wrong) would be globus pharyngeus. But to get treat for that condition (which is kind of a psychiatric condition) it is important that the patient (me) is totally convinced that he has nothing physically wrong. And the negligent assumption from that ENT is making it much harder than it would be.

That's all for the "on-topic" comments from my side. For any other details you are most welcome to check the situation in my thread, entitled "Severe anxiety from possible chronic illness (Hypochondria?)"

I think I can't share a link, even though it's a link to this same forum, but it's easy to find, just below this thread in the "Health Anxiety (Hypochondria)" subforum.

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Again, sorry to hear about all this. Regarding the pain, have you tried Curable? It might be worth a look for you. Pain is literally in your brain regardless of how "real" or not it is and Curable is an app that will give you a lot of information and coping mechanisms to treat chronic pain conditions, regardless of their source. I strongly recommend you at least give it a try.
 

AnthonyMG

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Yes, I have Curable in my iphone, since I saw the recommendation someone shared in this forum a couple of months ago. But I didn't use it that much. I haven't even payed for the subscription. I'll explain why:

My problem is not an intense pain. The pain is not horribly in its intensity. It is horrible in the type. It's the most awful and terrifying sensation. And it's always present, for 9 months now. Everyday, all the time. This is the first reason why I only used Curable for a few days.

The second reason is because it seemed to me that Curable would be a good tool once I knew about the correct diagnosis. Of course if I get a precise and unquestionable diagnosis that says that I will have to deal with this forever, Curable might be a good tool. Until then, it's all more about anxiety and depression from the most horrible symptoms in the world. At least I never thought that this kind of symptoms could exist and I don't know how I have handled with them for 9 months now. It absolutely terrifies me that I will have to live with this forever.

So, I'm considering (and basically "praying") for this to totally be a psychosomatic disorder, in a manifestation of globus pharyngeus. And, for that, I think Curable is not going to help that much, at least for now.

If it started from nothing (instead of starting after a specific distressful episode) and if that ENT avoided giving me that diagnose, at this point I would be 99% convinced that this is psychosomatic and I would be treating it like that.

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Fraser

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Yes, I have Curable in my iphone, since I saw the recommendation someone shared in this forum a couple of months ago. But I didn't use it that much. I haven't even payed for the subscription. I'll explain why:

My problem is not an intense pain. The pain is not horribly in its intensity. It is horrible in the type. It's the most awful and terrifying sensation. And it's always present, for 9 months now. Everyday, all the time. This is the first reason why I only used Curable for a few days.

The second reason is because it seemed to me that Curable would be a good tool once I knew about the correct diagnosis. Of course if I get a precise and unquestionable diagnosis that says that I will have to deal with this forever, Curable might be a good tool. Until then, it's all more about anxiety and depression from the most horrible symptoms in the world. At least I never thought that this kind of symptoms could exist and I don't know how I have handled with them for 9 months now. It absolutely terrifies me that I will have to live with this forever.

So, I'm considering (and basically "praying") for this to totally be a psychosomatic disorder, in a manifestation of globus pharyngeus. And, for that, I think Curable is not going to help that much, at least for now.

If it started from nothing (instead of starting after a specific distressful episode) and if that ENT avoided giving me that diagnose, at this point I would be 99% convinced that this is psychosomatic and I would be treating it like that.

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Globus pharyngeus would be a perfect match for Curable. The pain does not need to horrible in its intensity nor do you need a correct diagnosis for Curable to be useful. It's likely that a big part of what is bad about this pain is that your anxiety. For instance, I have tinnitus. When I first got it, I heard it all the time and it drove me crazy. I was constantly aware of it and constantly focused on it. It wasn't until I begin to accept it that I started to normalize it and then became habituated to it. Whether or not the pain is psychosomatic or whether it is from a physical ailment, pain is experienced and localized to your central nervous system and will respond to your conscious apprehension of it. I get the sense from your post that you haven't read through the material on the app, which, again, I'd suggest. Either way, good luck on your journey!
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi again Fraser,

Thank you very much for the information and for your thoughts about this. It really means a lot to me.

"It wasn't until I begin to accept it that I started to normalize it and then became habituated to it."
This is exactly where I am failing. I just can't accept it because I have the diagnose of an ENT who says that it is a physical damage and that I will have to live with the same sort of symptoms forever.

But I totally understand (and agree with) what you say. Accepting it and stop worrying is the first and most important step for improvement. It's just too present and in a part of the body (the throat) where symptoms are very hard to ignore, if not impossible.

And yes, I admit, I haven't read through much of the material on the app. I only watched two videos and checked which functionalities if offered without exploring them too much. I also got the sensation that without paying for the subscription it all would be very limited. Is this correct? It's not that I don't want to pay. This problem as already caused me losses (from medical expenses to work projects that I haven't completed) of thousands of euros.

I estimate it around 8 thousand euros, but that's subjective, because just a month ago I had to refuse a work offer with 65% increase in my salary (which is already good, so I would have enough income for my wife to leave work and dedicate to our 3 daughters) because of this problem. So any help is worth much more than the subscription fee to the app. Either way I had to be sure that I would use it and get a positive impact from it and it was not very clear to me.

But with your recommendation I'm sure (and I promise) that I will give it a second opportunity. Tonight or tomorrow I will spend a couple of hours on it ;)

I'm also starting psychiatric medication (mirtazapine) :( in about a week, so hopefully I can enter into a good path to recovery (if that's actually possible).

Kind regards.

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Fraser

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But I totally understand (and agree with) what you say. Accepting it and stop worrying is the first and most important step for improvement. It's just too present and in a part of the body (the throat) where symptoms are very hard to ignore, if not impossible.
This part, the part that seems impossible, is where you can start to use the information from the app to help yourself. It costs about $7 a month right now, which I know is not nothing, but might be worth the gamble. Like any form of therapy it requires commitment and, on some level, a suspension of disbelief. You kind of have to give yourself over to it. It's also a process, you won't get results immediately or even quickly, but I feel confident that you can make substantial progress.
 

Malouise

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Once upon a time my husband cancelled our internet bc I was so consumed with self-diagnosing. It was a terrible time. Now I avoid it bc I know nothing good comes of it, I’m only try to reassure myself, and I just end up finding that one internet post that seems to “Sound just like me” but they actually had cancer.
 

bin_tenn

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Once upon a time my husband cancelled our internet bc I was so consumed with self-diagnosing. It was a terrible time. Now I avoid it bc I know nothing good comes of it, I’m only try to reassure myself, and I just end up finding that one internet post that seems to “Sound just like me” but they actually had cancer.
That's the one your mind latches onto. That makes sense in the context of anxiety. If there is one thing online that "sounds just like you" then there are loads more that don't involve a cancer diagnosis.
 

Malouise

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That's the one your mind latches onto. That makes sense in the context of anxiety. If there is one thing online that "sounds just like you" then there are loads more that don't involve a cancer diagnosis.
Oh yeah. I could read 10 things that say what I am feeling is normal, and then one that says cancer. Which one do you think is going to see me up at night???
 

bin_tenn

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Oh yeah. I could read 10 things that say what I am feeling is normal, and then one that says cancer. Which one do you think is going to see me up at night???
It's not easy to ignore those things, I know. I try not to read too much about health stuff anymore, whether it's because I'm anxious or just wanting to learn something. I don't react that way to most things anymore, but there is a chance that if I see something related to heart health I may feel anxious about it.
 

Fraser

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Oh yeah. I could read 10 things that say what I am feeling is normal, and then one that says cancer. Which one do you think is going to see me up at night???
Oh same here. Similarly, if a disease has 10 symptoms, I don't care if I don't have 9, it's the one I do have that confirms my "diagnosis".
 

bin_tenn

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I feel like people who don't have HA can use Google sensibly to look up health alilments. Me, on the other hand...it's like an atom bomb. Not safe in any way.
That's mostly true, but there some folks with health anxiety who aren't triggered the way most of us are. It is possible to change how you react to triggers such as Google results though.
 
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