Have you ever had to deal with a patient who self-diagnosed?

An official diagnosis is frequently the first step toward recovery from a medical or mental illness. A correct diagnosis might give a clear path to wellness for a healthcare practitioner. The patient is examined, tested, and questioned for the necessary information to establish an accurate diagnosis.

However, in this day and age, it is quite easy for people to hop on the Internet and search for their symptoms. As a result, it is typical to make conclusions regarding one's ailment or illness.


Why do people engage in self-diagnose?

The following are the most common reasons why people self-diagnose:

  • Prefer to get committed to other needs

Getting ill is not an option for some people. They may be focused on more essential things, such as going to work or caring for their family. As a result, to save time and effort, people go online to diagnose their ailments.

  • Don’t want to spend money

People who are unwell enough to seek medical attention typically rely on the internet for information and medical advice because they either do not have enough money to cover their medical bills or are unwilling to part with their hard-earned money.

  • They are embarrassed about their health situation.

One may not feel comfortable discussing their symptoms with a healthcare practitioner due to shame regarding their problems. When discussing sensitive health concerns such as bedwetting, chronic bad breath, sexually transmitted illnesses, hemorrhoids, vaginal farting, urinating during sex, excessive perspiration, or acne breakouts, it may appear as a full surrender of their privacy and may undermine your self-confidence.


Tips to manage self-diagnose patients


  • Recognize their efforts.

When dealing with these types of patients, this is the primary step. As healthcare providers, we put ourselves in the shoes of others to better understand what our patients are going through and to provide a better solution. Simply appreciating their brave attempts to spend a significant amount of time studying their symptoms makes them feel important and valued.


  • Build on what the patient said.

Once you have a strong understanding of what the patient believes and understands, you have a very good chance of getting anything relevant to their symptoms. If possible, build on the information they have provided you with by adding extra information about the same issue.


  • Encourage people to express their emotions verbally.

Encouragement of verbalization of emotions and listening to the patient helps build trust and rapport, making them far more eager to listen to you. It also assists you in obtaining important information that may assist you in making a more accurate possible diagnosis.


  • Have them educated on the dangers of self-diagnosis

As medical personnel, your job doesn't stop at diagnosis and patient assessment but also you have to be your patients' advocate. It means it's part of your obligation to educate your patients’ on the disadvantage of self-diagnosis

If at all possible, show them visual tools to help them comprehend what they could face if anything goes wrong. In this way, they will lessen their dependence on the internet and other media for self-diagnosis.


  • Provide them with more materials that will help them.

Providing patients with additional resources that can assist them may help to correct some of their incorrect beliefs and give them more information. Encourage them to seek sites associated with academic medical centers or health care institutions. Those sites frequently thoroughly check their content to give the most up-to-date and correct information. It is recommended to advise them to avoid sites with a lot of advertising because the material on those sites is sometimes modified to suit specific criteria.


May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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