Assessment of cyberchondria among patients presenting to the emergency department of a tertiary care hospital in Islamabad, PakistanMaria Naseer Malik, Mir Ahmed Talha Mustafa, Maira Yaseen, Sanniya Khan Ghauri, Arslaan Javaeed.
Cyberchondriasis is an emerging mental health disorder in lower and middle-income countries. The study was aimed for assessment of cyberchondriasis in patients presenting to the emergency department of three tertiary care hospitals of Pakistan
A questionnaire-based study, formulated on the Cyberchondriasis Severity Scale, was carried out in three emergency departments of
tertiary care hospitals in Islamabad, Pakistan. The study duration was three months i.e. March to May 2019. A self-reported questionnaire was distributed amongst participants and results were calculated through SPSS version 23. Ethical approval was obtained.
Out of 958 participants, 304 people returned the questionnaire with a response rate of 31.4%. 189 patients (62.17%) admitted that if they would notice an unexplained bodily sensation, they would often search for it on the internet. Alarmingly, a significant population
(11.18%) of the participants said that they would rarely trust their GP over their online self-diagnosis. Online searching and self-diagnosis
made 244 patients (80.26%) panic while 32 patients (10.52%) always found it difficult to sleep after researching perceived medical conditions.
Many aspects of cyberchondriasis are evident in the study. Further studies are required to report the exact prevalence and association with mental health.
Key words: Cyberchondria; Psychological Disorder; Cyberchondria Severity Scale (CSS); Emergency Department; Pakistan