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Google is not the answer to your illness, says this Pune doctor

The usage of Internet has gone up exponentially in recent years. With this many people especially young children and patients are seen relying heavily on the Internet for information. This has given rise to the ‘Google syndrome’ in many people. Psychiatrist Dr Nischol Raval from Sahyadri Hospital spoke to Jui Dharwadkar about it.

pune Updated: Nov 28, 2017 15:05 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
Psychiatrist,Dr Nischol Raval,Sahyadri Hospital
Psychiatrist Dr Nischol Raval from Sahyadri Hospital(HT PHOTO)

What is the Google syndrome?
Google Syndrome can be categorised in two types. One affects the analytical thinking skills of young children who are not taking any effort in using their thinking skills for problem solving. They are instead using the Internet to get answers for all their questions. This hampers their thinking abilities and problem solving skills. The other type of Google syndrome is seen in patients who tend to do self- diagnosis by analysing the cause of their symptoms using the Internet.

Which is more serious?
Both are serious and need to be prevented. In the first one, the child’s ability of problem solving which needs to be developed during his growing years is hampered. In the other type, patients can panic by perceiving that they are suffering from some serious disease. By self-diagnosis, the anxiety in patients increases and it also affects the trust that is necessary between doctors and patients.

Is self-diagnosis by patients increasing?
Yes, it is definitely increasing. Nowadays, it can be seen that patients visit doctors and tell the doctor the disease that they feel they are suffering. They forget to tell the symptoms. Due to this doctors have been specifically telling patients to not come with their own diagnosis but to tell the symptoms so that the treatment is done in the right direction.

Does self-diagnosis affect the patient?
The anxiety level in patients can increase and many times patients panic. For example, increase in heart beat rate and vomiting are associated with some serious heart problem by patients which might not be the case. During such times, doctors have to take extra efforts to make the patients realise that they have done self-diagnosis which is incorrect.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 15:04 IST