Researchers from the UK find that health anxiety fueled by looking up symptoms on the internet recourses is a growing problem in the United Kingdom. The condition can also be caused by previous health scares and could affect 1 in 5 hospital patients.
A team of researchers from Imperial College London and King’s College London says that the symptoms of health anxiety were often mistaken for those of physical illnesses and included pain in chest and headaches.
Prof Peter Tyrer, emeritus professor in community psychiatry at Imperial College London, says: “We suspect that [health anxiety] is increasing in frequency because of what is now called ‘cyberchondria’. This is because people now go to their GPs with a whole list of things they’ve looked up on the internet, and the poor GP, five minutes into the consultation, has four pages of reading to do.”