When symptom surfing, you concentrate on hard-to-diagnose, vague symptoms, such as fatigue, general muscle aches, headaches and strange physical sensations.
"We see patients who have done Internet searches on muscle aches, fatigue, pain and are convinced they have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," says Khare.
"Cyberchondriacs are ambivalent about finding out they have an illness," says Carole Lieberman, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. "On one hand, they're terribly fearful of being sick and dying, but on the other hand, they are looking for something to validate symptoms to get attention and sympathy."
So vague symptoms, such as fatigue or aches, provide the chance to vacillate between benign and terminal diagnoses, depending on how sorry you want to feel for yourself at that moment.