Have you ever had unusual pain or health concerns and turned to Google or YouTube for answers? You’re not alone. Most adult Americans search online for medical info on their symptoms and possible treatments like physical therapy and psychotherapy.
Google and YouTube provide a wealth of information through blog posts, discussion boards, and videos to help you better understand your condition. They can also point you in the wrong direction. In this article, we’ll explore five reasons why Google and YouTube shouldn’t be your go-to options for medical advice:
● unreliable sources and unvetted information
● confirmation bias
● unnecessary panic and concern
● risky, unsafe treatment
● waiting until it’s too late
Unreliable Sources and Unvetted Information
You don’t need a medical degree to publish medical information online. The answers and solutions listed in your search results might be inaccurate and misleading. Even those scholarly-sounding blog posts and professional YouTube videos could be unreliable.
Healthcare workers often joke that if you have pain, Google will tell you it’s probably cancer. This is not far from the truth. Google only knows the information you give it, which means it doesn’t consider all the other factors that contribute to a proper diagnosis, like family history and environment.
Medical professionals understand the complexity of people and their health conditions. Dr. Google only offers advice and assumptions based on the keywords in your search query.
Whatever your beliefs and opinions, you can always find a website or article that agrees with you, meaning you only see what you’re looking for without getting a well-rounded view of things. While medical experts maintain a third-party perspective, Dr. Google often provides confirmation bias.
Here’s an example of confirmation bias when you look up health-related info online:
● If you search “running therapy improves mental health,” you’ll find hundreds of articles to support this claim. Dr. Google will say running does indeed improve mental health.
● If you search “running therapy doesn’t improve mental health,” Google will say you shouldn’t undergo running therapy for mental health.
Unnecessary Panic and Concern
Some symptoms point to temporary, minor health issues like common colds or seasonal allergies. However, those same symptoms could indicate a significant, life-threatening condition. Dr. Google and YouTube lay all the options out front.
Searching online for medical explanations might lead to unnecessary panic and concern. You can easily fixate on the severest, worst-case situations and needlessly stress out. Lower abdominal pain doesn’t always mean cancer.
Risky, Unsafe Treatments
Many adults turn to Google and YouTube for ways to treat their medical conditions. While they provide great places for sharing similar ideas and experiences, health-related articles, discussion forums, and videos can easily spread misinformation. This often leads to the wrong self-diagnosis and the wrong treatment, which can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Google and YouTube describe many innovative treatments that work for specific individuals. That doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. While you might struggle with the same health problem, it’s important to realize many other factors will help determine which treatment works best.
Improper self-diagnosis and self-treatment can lead to serious side effects, overdosing, long-term complications, and even death. Don’t just trust anyone with your health concerns and treatments. Trust a licensed healthcare provider.
Waiting Until It’s Too Late
Perhaps you don’t have the money to pay for what you think you need or don’t want to spend time in clinics and therapy sessions. Maybe you’re tempted to self-diagnose and self-treat because of time and money.
When it comes to severe injuries and illnesses, you must act quickly. Don’t waste time trying to figure it out by yourself and put off talking to a medical professional. This could lead to delayed healing and even more severe, long-lasting health problems.
Get Professional, Humane Medical Help Today!
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