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When to stop Internet search for my problem?

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In the days before the Internet and its sophisticated search engines, people deferred to their doctor, pharmacist, or healer for diagnosis and advice.  The literate public had at its disposal another source, home medical reference books that were written as a guide to illness and disease, including remedies and various tips.

Things are different nowadays.  The Internet has become a fundamental diagnostic and solution-provider source, consumers are savvy and knowledgeable, and the practice of medicine is transparent and more accessible.  All this is fine and good as long as it is used safely, reasonably, and not in lieu of proper medical care.  And, one must draw the line between gathering information, and feeding anxiety & obsession.

A typical example is Jane, 30 year old, who was on antibiotics for several months in the past 2 years and now suffers from vulvar vestibulitis (genital burning and painful intercourse), which brought her to us for a consultation.  Jane disclosed that she embarked on an intense Internet search in the prior 2 months, tried every possible solution she read about, corresponded with various bloggers about their sad experiences but it got her nowhere except feeling consumed by anxiety, the inability to sleep at night, and the feeling that she will never be cured…

Our recommendation:  If you look for information, you will find a lot, good and bad; you will need to decipher what is reasonable, and let go of the rest.  But, if you are one of those who find themselves caught in an endless spin of searching for hours and days on end — it is best that you stop right away and go see your doctor lest you destroy your mental health.

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