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Opinion and Commentary from TMA

In Texas, Dr. Google an Oft-Sought ADHD Expert

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What are your patients looking for when they seek the advice of Dr. Google?

In Texas, it’s most likely ADHD, according to a new study of the most Googled health problems in the United States.

Texas is among nine states whose residents most searched for information on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, the study by health insurer MedicareHealthPlans shows.

In fact, ADHD, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS were the top health-related Google search terms in 19 of the 50 states, per the study.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a little more than 10 percent of Texas children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011, the latest year for which information is available.

Now, just because ADHD is the most commonly Googled health problem in Texas doesn’t mean it’s the most common actual health problem in the state.

That’s an important (if not obvious) distinction to make, considering what people in other states are searching for, which can be entertaining, puzzling, and downright interesting (and probably connected, somehow, to each state’s unique conditions).

In West Virginia, the top Google health search is porn addiction, while binge drinking holds the top spot in Iowa. 

Minnesotans are most concerned about hemorrhoids, while post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is of greatest concern to New Mexico residents. 

Wyoming’s worried about flu, Tennessee’s tense about strep throat, and Washingtonians want to know about body dysmorphia. Apparently, South Dakotans can’t sleep, and their neighbors to the north get a lot of ear infections.

Finally, Connecticut is looking up information on “quarter-life crisis,” which is a bit strange considering the median age of Connecticut residents is 40.9 years (usually reserved for the mid-life crisis). Makes you wonder just how long people in the Constitution State think they’re going to live.

(By the way, if you were to Google “quarter-life crisis,” the top results would include a link to a book for sale at that includes this description of that malady: “When young adults emerge at graduation from almost two decades of schooling, during which each step to take is clearly marked, they encounter an overwhelming number of choices regarding their careers, finances, homes, and social networks. Confronted by an often shattering whirlwind of new responsibilities, new liberties, and new options, they feel helpless, panicked, indecisive, and apprehensive.” I’m sure glad I’m past that.)