Are you googling your way to an anxiety disorder?

No one wants to be sick. Health is wealth is the say­ing, and it could not be more true. Yes, we are only here for a short time and if our body is phys­ic­ally well (as well as men­tally and emo­tion­al well­ness), then we are able to achieve more with our lives. With the inter­net and shar­ing of inform­a­tion, we can grow our know­ledge base to expand what we know and how to improve ourselves. However, there is indeed a healthy lim­it to that knowledge.

A patient wisely said to me yes­ter­day, “I do not want to leave my health know­ledge to advert­ising and mar­ket­ing”. Astute. What did they mean by that?

There are so many things that can bene­fit your health. Everyday when you turn on the news, the latest new “fad” is high­lighted to extend your life. The most amus­ing to me recently was the cof­fee conun­drum, where one day the head­lines on inter­net health news sites claimed that a research study demon­strated an increased length of life for those indi­vidu­als who con­sume cof­fee daily. The very next day, an ana­lys­is of this study was pub­lished by Dr Michael Greger to refute the study and point out the oth­er side of cof­fee (caf­feine high etc), all very true points. As con­sumers and patients, what do you think? You should be sus­pi­cious that one day some­thing is the cure for all things, and the next day it is a det­ri­ment! The truth then is prob­ably some­thing in between, speak­ing to mod­er­a­tion, indi­vidu­al­ity, and lifestyle.

This all-or-noth­ing think­ing that one nutrient/​food/​supplement/​method of treat­ment is the be-all-end-all for health is evid­ent when people are con­vinced to spend thou­sands of dol­lars on sup­ple­ments only to real­ize that while those sup­ple­ments are bene­fi­cial for health in some respects, they won’t really help with their spe­cif­ic condition.

Additionally, try­ing to determ­ine what your phys­ic­al symp­toms might be before seek­ing the guid­ance of health pro­fes­sion­als (MDs, NDs, chiro­pract­ors, physio­ther­ap­ists, osteo­paths) is a very dan­ger­ous thing. A com­mon cold sud­denly looks like lymph­oma, or gen­er­al fatigue looks like a thyroid condition!

This is not to say that you can­not take respons­ib­il­ity or interest in your health. However, if you are a per­son who is a bit more of a wor­ri­er or anxious by nature, it might not be the greatest idea for you to google your health con­di­tion and then start tak­ing x, y, z sup­ple­ments for that self-dia­gnosed health con­di­tion. Most likely you will become more anxious about all of the pos­sible health con­di­tions that you could have! Sometimes a little bit of know­ledge can be a dan­ger­ous thing…

Let’s face it — our attempts to ‘google’ and get know­ledge to avoid health pit­falls can also be masked as try­ing to con­trol.

If this sounds like some­thing you do, step away from the com­puter! Go out­side. It’s a beau­ti­ful day!

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