MALAGA and Sevilla are the cities with the most people living with illness anxiety disorder (sometimes called hypochondriacs) in the whole of Spain, a recent study has revealed.

The number of people who are overwhelmed by the slightest pain thinking that it could lead to a serious illness has shot up, especially in times of the current health crisis.

A study, carried out by Lenstore, has confirmed that Malaga and Sevilla are at the forefront of this disorder.

These two cities are closely followed by Madrid, Valencia, Murcia and Barcelona.

The same study has also disclosed that 88% of the population searches Google for a diagnosis before going to a health professional.

According to the study, women are 1.6 times more likely to search online first before going to their doctor.

The study also reveals that there is a high tendency to self-medicate.

34% of 25-34-year-olds admit to buying medication once they have self-diagnosed, followed by 30% of 35-44-year-olds and 20% of those over 55.

The majority of respondents acknowledged that using Google to search for symptoms had caused a more or less serious condition to go undiagnosed for quite some time.

Additionally, only 55% would go to the doctor if they were scared, 46% if the internet advised them to do so and 28% if the family asked them to.

Finally, the study has concluded that people who search online for a diagnosis, whether they suffer symptoms or not, trigger mental discomfort which can lead to illness anxiety disorders.

Typical symptoms of illness anxiety disorders include:

  • Extreme anxiety or fear about having a particular disease.
  • Worries that minor symptoms may mean you have a serious disease.
  • Repeated doctor’s visits and exams.
  • Frequently switching doctors.
  • Being easily alarmed about your health status.
  • Finding little or no reassurance from doctor visits or negative test results.
  • Cyberchondria; frequently searching the internet for causes of symptoms or possible illnesses.
  • Avoiding people, places or activities for fear of health risks.
  • Frequently checking the body for problems such as lumps, sores or aches.
  • Frequently checking vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse or temperature.
  • Thinking you have a disease after reading or hearing about it.
  • Refusing to see a doctor for fear of getting the bad news that you have a serious illness.
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