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7 Compelling Reasons You Should Never Self-Diagnose

By Dr. Sherri L. Dehaas

Dr. Google has a nasty habit of turning a garden-variety headache into a brain tumor within two clicks flat. Besides causing unnecessary anxiety, you open the door to a host of other dangers when you self-diagnose. This includes expensive and painful tests that put a strain on your wallet and stress on your overall wellbeing. Before you decide to rely solely on the Internet for medical information, consider the risks of not consulting a professional.

1. Your Diagnosis Might Be Incorrect
There’s no denying that a dull ache in your right side could be the beginnings of appendicitis, but it could also be nothing serious. Either way, you can’t know until a doctor who knows what to look for in patients presenting particular symptoms evaluates you. Thanks to online consults, this doesn’t necessarily mean a trip down to your local emergency room.

2. Self-Diagnosis Can Lead To Misdiagnosis
Symptoms like stomachaches, muscle pains, and vomiting spread over a variety of health issues. You might identify signs of sicknessas one condition only to discover it’s a completely different ailment that requires a particular test or treatment regime. The last thing you want is to self-diagnose a condition as nothing to worry about only to regret your choice when it turns out to be life threatening.There’s even a chance you might need ongoing monitoring, so it’s best to get the correct diagnosis right off the bat.

3. Self-Diagnosis Can Lead To Improper Treatment
At the end of the day,symptoms are just symptoms. While you can treat many of them with over-the-counter medications, you need to determine the root cause to ensure you’re applying the right method of treatment. This is especially true in cases where you need a prescription for an antibiotic.

4. Certain Illnesses Are More than Symptoms
Medical disorders are more than a simple list of symptoms.A conditionsuch as mental illnesscan manifest itself a number of different ways, which means medical intervention from a professional is a must. A trained doctor is able to ask the right questions, as well as identify behaviors and patternsthat aren’t always outlined in online medical articles.

5. Online Information Can Be Unreliable
Not surprisingly, many articles are rife with misinformation as a good portion of website owners hire freelance writers with little to no medical background. Since their goal is to produce unique content search engines will love, this leaves room for themisinterpretation of medical terms, as well as the use of incorrect terms. In addition, many articlesfail to explain conditions thoroughly or accurately.

6. Professionals Can Perform Evaluations To A Higher Degree Than You Can
Without a medical degree, your knowledge of the human mind and body is limited. Physicians go through years of study and training so they can correctly diagnose health issues and pursue the proper course of treatment. They’re trained to conduct a variety of tests and evaluations, as well as look for signs of illness you don’t always see or identify as a symptom.

7. There’s No Discussion to Understand Your Condition
While the Internet can be a great source of information on almost any medical condition, it can never serve as a substitute for consulting a physician. Once you self-diagnose, you’re unlikely to follow through with talking to a professional. The reality is that a qualified medical professional not only answers questions but can also take your medical history into account and provide the correct advice or prescription for curing your ailment.


Many illnesses are complex in nature, which means they require far more than a general article that covers the basics. You would need to leverage multiple resources for a better overview, and even that might not be enough. Speaking to a medical professional directly is usually the best source of information you can trust.


Do you suspect you have a certain illness? Consult with a professional now to put your mind at ease. Alternatively, you can leave a comment in the box below. We’d love to hear your thoughts on self-diagnosis. 


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