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The Non-Expert

Am I a Hypochondriac?

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we introduce a paranoid reader to our personal physician, Dr. Google, who has induced paranoia in more patients than anyone.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.

 

Question: I don’t know why, but I always think I have cancer or an aneurysm or deep-vein thrombosis or something terrible all that time. I’ll have a little pain or discomfort somewhere and then the next thing you know I’m searching for symptoms online and then I’m even more sure I’ve got something, even though it seems like it changes every week! I know I’m being completely irrational, but I know I’m not crazy. So, am I just being a hypochondriac? —Kim S.

Answer: Yes, you are, and though such a medically sensitive question is supposed to warrant an answer like, “you should check with your physician for a proper diagnosis,” isn’t it the job of hypochondriacs to provide their own diagnoses? After all, how could a doctor fare better than somebody who spends all day reading about gallstones and gout and viral emphysema?

So while you certainly do sound like a hypochondriac, from the sound of your question, you’re pretty bush league as far as hypochondriacs go. True hypochondriacs (the pros of the game, if you will) are able to assume the symptoms of the illness with which they believe themselves stricken—i.e., you need to learn how to turn off and on a pallor. Hypochondria is a disease, and if you’re going to catch it along with everything else you’ve got, you’re going to need to work on your symptoms.

In order to help steer you in the right direction, let me introduce you to the world’s most popular personal physician, Dr. Google. Friend to joyriding hypochondriacs everywhere, Dr. Google’s most terrifying diagnoses are found in the text on the first page of results; here are some of the good doctor’s most popular case studies.

 

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “abdominal discomfort” “where is the liver?”
Diagnosis: liver cancer

Patient presents with the following symptoms: cough “sore throat” fever
Diagnosis: “GIANTmicrobes”

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “achy arms”
Diagnosis: lupus, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “i wake up tired” headache
Diagnosis: fibromyalgia, brain aneurysm

Patient presents with the following symptoms: fibromylanagia
Diagnosis: “Did you mean: fibromyalgia?”

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “groin pain” nausea
Diagnosis: inguinal hernia, perforated appendicitis

Patient presents with the following symptoms: chest discomfort “while sitting”
Diagnosis: heart attack, angina

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “sore throat” achy
Diagnosis: pharyngitis and anemia

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “loss of appetite”
Diagnosis: Congestive Heart Failure

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “dry skin” alcohol headache
Diagnosis: eczema with kidney stones

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “arm tingling”
Diagnosis: Multiple Sclerosis and degenerative arthritis; possible “diabetes and nerve damage” (sponsored link)

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “weight loss” headache
Diagnosis: Malaria

Patient presents with the following symptoms: headache “weight loss” -south -beach -diet
Diagnosis: fasting, “burning eyes,” and “soar throat”

Patient presents with the following symptoms: “colon cancer” constipation “how to tell the difference”
Diagnosis: ulcerative colitis and colon cancer

biopic

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack