What is the term for the tendency to read an article, selectively identify with certain symptoms, and then conclude "I must have that".

ex: Bipolar Disorder, ADD, allergy to gluten, etc.

1 Answer 1


Similar situations are referred to by their common origin in the health sciences: medical students' disease, second year syndrome, etc.

More generally, hypochondria refers to excessively worrying about having a serious illness to the point of having a psychiatric problem.

"Cyberchondria" has been coined to refer to the common modern situation where people may develop symptoms of hypochondria from reading medical advice on the internet, which is often skewed towards more serious illness in particular for symptoms that also have benign causes.

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    Morbus Mohl and Morbus Google might be added to that as well, although at least the first term seems to be a bit too localised for an English speaking audience and slowly fading away, anyway. But it's just so catchy. Aug 15, 2018 at 17:54
  • @LangLangC As a native English speaker I have never heard either of those terms, seems quite localized to German - I get exclusively German search results (besides one translation dictionary) searching from the US. Funny cultural phenomenon for sure though.
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 15, 2018 at 18:54
  • Yeah, admittedly the first one was named after a vaguely DrPhil type –now former– show host, gone from the air for over a decade now. But the second isn't more widely known? That's funny indeed, a bit disturbing to honest, given the increased bubble-asation of search results. Aug 15, 2018 at 19:05
  • @LangLangC As you might notice the author of that article is also German. Could be more known than I appreciate, just haven't personally come across it.
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 15, 2018 at 20:51
  • Illness anxiety syndrome Aug 16, 2018 at 6:04

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