Cyberchondria Costs Patients Extra Money - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Cyberchondria Costs Patients Extra Money

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Searching for information about illness on the internet is pretty common, but sometimes that searching can become an obsession.

It's called cyberchondria, and it happens when people spend countless hours looking at symptoms of different illnesses until they're convinced they have a deadly disease.

Doctors say when patients obsessively search the internet it's easy to see the worst-case scenario, and usually that scenario is a lot less extreme than they think. Doctors also say cyberchondria can cost people a lot of extra money, so "conservative" treatment is the way to go.

"If you read on the internet and come in for shoulder pain, which is possibly arthritis or tendonitis, and it's easy to fix, and they think oh, it has to a torn rotator cuff, then we undergo the costs of MRIs, which are in the thousands of dollars and it may not be needed. Many of the symptom-checking sites out there are funded by companies that are promoting a product," says Dr. Jessica Carlson of Sanford.

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