Cyberchondria is what happens when we self-diagnose by looking up the symptoms on the web. This can be for everything from illness to the state of the company's finances or the country's leadership. What might have been a simple cold turns into a rare form of encephalitis that has no known cure. Headaches become terminal brain tumors. Meanwhile, half the office is so anxious about catching it, they call in sick. It seems there is no problem that the web won't make us believe is far worse than it is. In fact, the best way to induce full-scale panic is to start a rumour online. The anxiety associated with the condition can be reduced with a simple test: time. If you wake up with all your limbs intact, you probably have not contracted leprosy - despite what all the chat sites say.
- Helen Kirwan-Taylor - firstname.lastname@example.org