Combating The Rise Of Health Anxiety

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Since the emergence of Google, we have begun to rely on this search engine daily to help us locate the nearest restaurant, help us find the quickest route to work and help us find out the answer to the most useless bit of trivia that caused a heated argument. While the Internet has benefited our lives immeasurably, it has also caused a wealth of social problems, namely anxiety and self-esteem issues. Any ache or pain or niggle that we feel results in us reaching for our smartphone and consulting Dr Google rather than a real-life human being with years of medical school training and experience behind them. Relying on a search engine has resulted in an explosion in medical anxiety and health phobias. How do we go about combating this issue?


We often joke about members of our family or friends being certified hypochondriacs. A headache and they have a brain tumour, leg pain and they have sciatica, and a dizzy spell might be MS. Instinctively believing that any minor niggle may be a serious ailment can be treated as a joke by those not afflicted, but for many, this is a real cause of health anxiety. Coupled with the emergence of Dr Google and you have an unhealthy combination. Because of the algorithms that Google relies on, the most serious conditions tend to be higher up in the search results when you enter your symptoms. This isn’t the most common ailment but the most deadly.

When people with health anxiety feel like they are backed up by Google, they often develop a deeper level of anxiety: the fear of finding out. Heading to your local surgery could result in tests, biopsies and a serious diagnosis. While the chances of this scenario remain slim, for those combating health anxiety, this is a constant worry and stress.

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Fear Of Hospitals

When analyzed in greater detail, many people worry excessively about their health because of a fear of hospitals. Often when visiting relatives in hospital as children, the traumatic experience of seeing a family member unwell in unfamiliar surroundings can lead to a phobia. Many anxieties have a causal factor, like those listed at, that needs addressing with a therapist or counsellor to talk through deep-rooted issues.

Even if there is no trauma from childhood that is causing health anxiety, a phobia of hospitals can still develop. Head over to and you will discover that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die in the United States each year because of medical negligence. This statistic is enough to shock anyone who may be on the waiting list for an operation. For those with a phobia, their irrational side takes over, and they will believe that something terrible will happen when they go under the knife.

Health anxiety, while not a first world problem, has definitely been exemplified by our reliance on technology. Instead of consulting Dr Google, make an effort to speak to a trained doctor about not only your physical ailments but also your anxieties and worries. Health anxiety can be treated, and you may find your whole well being improving as a result.

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