We get up close and personal with our favourite doc, to find out more about what makes him tick…
Google says so…
Admit it. You’ve searched your symptoms on the internet. Just about everyone does and, thankfully, Dr Christian is not opposed to that.
‘Google diagnosing isn’t really dangerous in itself, it’s how you process the information you discover and where you get that information from. That’s what may be an issue,’ he says.
‘I don’t have a problem with my patients looking up stuff, in fact I think it’s really important: it amazes me when I diagnose someone and they come back a month later and they don’t know more about the condition than when I first diagnosed them. It’s important. You’ve only got one disease to learn about; your GP has to know about a million diseases, so there’s the very real possibility that you will know more than your doctor about some things.
‘I’m a big fan of patients researching conditions. But if it’s exacerbating an underlying medical anxiety then that’s a problem. If you’re diagnosing yourself with a brain tumour every other day, that’s when it becomes a problem.’
Dr Christian has several books under his belt, and is currently writing the third in his non-fiction series for youngsters. ‘The first was Dr Christian’s Guide to Growing Up (£8.99, Scholastic), then came Dr Christian’s Guide to Dealing with the Tricky Stuff (£8.99, Scholastic) and the latest one, Dr Christian’s Guide
to Growing Up Healthy (£8.99, Scholastic) will be published on May 5, 2016. It includes lots of teenage orientated advice, including cyber safety, bullying, drugs and alcohol.
‘In a world where everything is available online, it’s knowing where to go for accurate advice that’s the problem. I wrote this as I think that if you have a book, you can sit down as a family and talk through the issues included in it, together, and in a safe, controlled environment.’
Good to share
‘Hiding your sexuality is really psychologically damaging, so I think people need to be open about sexuality and should be able to be themselves. You should also be allowed to choose which parts of yourself you share, and shouldn’t be forced into hiding parts of yourself because fear, your career industry, or the media, dictates that you should.’
Bringing humour to medicine
When asked if he’d like to present more documentaries, Dr Christian says he would, but admits he’d also like to break new ground. ‘I’m still thinking about the marriage between comedy and medicine – I think medicine is generally quite funny and I think laughing at health can be very rewarding,’ says Dr Christian. I’d love to work with Sarah Millican (pictured top, right) or Alan Carr (pictured right), for a warm, fuzzy look at something quite horrible, like HIV or cancer.
‘If you get it right, it could be a wonderful thing – looking at illnesses and diseases that people find frightening, and using humour to help remove this fear.’
‘For women aged 40 and over the menopause is not too far away, and the healthier you can be going into your menopause, the better you will cope with symptoms and maintain your health afterwards,’ advises Dr Christian. ‘My advice is, if you are overweight and approaching menopause, stop buying supplements and focus on losing weight, which is done more through what you eat, than by exercise.’