With the advent of the Internet came the ability for people to share knowledge on just about every topic imaginable. While most of that knowledge happens to center around fart jokes, some people have created websites dedicated to sharing useful information, such as websites on medical billing and coding. Medical coding websites allow people to look through symptoms of various diseases and perform self-diagnoses. Most of people’s self-diagnoses often go about as well as you’d expect from people who haven’t spent half their lives in medical school. Here are some medical conditions that pretty much everybody believes they have after reading about them on Wikipedia.
Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder related to autism. Skimming an article about this condition will tell you that people suffering from Asperger syndrome usually have a tough time picking up on body language or other social cues, but can still interact with other people. They also say that people with Asperger syndrome often have an intent interest in narrow fields but are relatively uninformed about other topics. Then they will inform you that they have Aspergers and that you have to be extra nice to them now.
The problem is that many people are lazy, and don’t bother reading the detailed reports on what separates somebody with Asperger’s from a guy who really likes video games and is socially awkward. The simple description of Asperger’s makes it sound okay to not have social skills, since it is a medical condition and not at all caused by never learning to hold a conversation that wasn’t on the Internet.
Do you sometimes feel happy? Do you sometimes feel sad? If you answered yes to both of these questions with yes, then you may be suffering from bipolar disorder, as anybody will tell you that the definition is sometimes being depressed and sometimes being exuberant. The only problem with this definition is that everybody has good days and bad days. Chances are the day you get a kitten you will be ecstatic, and the day you realize it hates you with all its tiny black heart you will be depressed.
What makes this different from bipolar disorder is that there are actual triggers to that kind of mood swing, and they aren’t as extreme as those suffered by people who actually do have bipolar disorder. Otherwise a dropped pencil could lead you to intense depression quickly followed by an energetic happiness that scares the hell out of everybody around you. While getting sad and writing bad poetry followed by a night out getting drunk with friends does count as a change in moods, it certainly doesn’t qualify you for any medical conditions.