Whether it’s a nagging cough, strange stomach problems or other aches and pains, we have all turned to the internet at one point to dissect the problem and find solutions. If you are anything like me, after googling your symptoms on WebMD, you will read the worst-case scenario and accept a grim fate. Now, not only are you bothered by your initial concern, but panicked and anxious about a new concern that you probably misdiagnosed. I see people do this all of the time for mental health concerns as well. As a therapist, nothing makes me happier than easy access to mental health education and open conversation about mental health. However, there are a few dangers of relying on the internet for your health education. That is why I am going to teach you an important lesson that trendy psychology is not telling you.

During grad school, I took an abnormal psychology course. I eagerly dove into my text book to learn about several mental health disorders. Mental health disorders affect your mood, thinking and behavior and cause impairments in your day-to-day functioning. As I was reading my text book, I began identifying with several mental health disorders and thinking they fit me perfectly. After two weeks, I had probably diagnosed myself with five disorders I did not really have. Then I remembered back to the first day of class when the teacher warned us not to get caught up in diagnosing ourselves or other people in our lives.

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