Self-diagnosis has experienced rapid growth over the past few years with the development of new information technologies. Forums and other medical websites continue to multiply, making it easier than ever to gain access to medical information from professionals.

One of the main reasons for this spurt in popularity is that self-diagnosis is a great time-saver. While it can sometimes take months to get an appointment with a physician, it takes just a few clicks on the Internet. In fact, one-third of all Americans perform an on-line search for their symptoms before even contacting a physician.

Self-diagnosis mainly concerns mild, short-term illnesses, and since many basic medicines are available without a prescription, patients can often care for themselves.

One of the main risks of this type of approach is that, after having found the “right diagnosis,” some may be tempted to forego seeing the doctor at all, convinced that their own research on the web is sufficient. However, certain symptoms may indicate other illnesses that only a physician can accurately diagnose.