Our View: Hypochondriacs, a plague of misinformation

By Herald Editorial Staff
On February 20, 2014

Aches, pains and unusual mental states all have medical terms that can be found on an online symptom-checker.

Some can be symptoms of a larger problem. Others are only symptoms of college.

But this doesn’t stop WebMD, and especially students, from jumping to conclusions anyway.

Though there are plenty of students with unfortunate medical conditions, it seems the number of people faking, or blowing a condition out of proportion, are also on the rise.

As a result we have become a society of hypochondriacs and we are nonchalantly accepting of it.

Many people make far-fetched claims to have a condition that has never been diagnosed and use commonly mistaken data to back up their claim.

For example, people who like to be organized associate themselves with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or someone who has trouble focusing in a boring class will claim to have Attention Deficit Disorder.

A runny nose in the spring is equated to “horrible allergies.” And a stomachache after eating bread immediately leads to gluten-intolerance.

However, many people never actually seek a professional opinion, mostly because they know it isn’t actually serious.

This causes problems for those who have actually been diagnosed with such conditions.

OCD and ADD have many other symptoms than those commonly seen or talked about.

More importantly, both are conditions that must be diagnosed by medical professionals to be accurately assessed and treated.

Making false claims spreads misinformation about what the condition actually entails.

Those who rely on the false sources can then question the legitimacy of a diagnosis.

Those who experience one common symptom of an illness can then jump to conclusions too early. Some may go so far as to disregard a doctor saying they do not have the condition, and try to treat the “illness” anyway.

It is only natural for someone to want to find something unique about him or her, or find something to set them apart.

However, feigning a disease or medical condition should not be how this is done.

Yet is seems as if conditions such as Celiac disease or ADHD are becoming a new trend.

It is important to note there are certainly people with legitimately diagnosed medical conditions.

But more hypochondriacs can easily overshadow those who truly do need the information and help.

Feigning an illness not only demeans the seriousness of those who actually do have the disease, but also spreads misinformation that could detrimentally affect society.

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration at A-State.

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