How to Know When You Should Change Doctors
*Disclaimer: The following post explains issues I personally experienced with doctors. The signs and examples used are taken from my actual encounters with medical professionals as well as an article listed under the RESOURCES section.*
If you read my post Struggling with Anxiety and Depression: My Story, then you will remember the brief mention of the terrible doctor I visited after my first panic attack. I’ve had a few bad doctor visits in my life, but this one takes the cake.
This doctor told me I had a temporary condition as a result of stress from finals. He prescribed me medication to take for a week to help “calm me down”. He also went through everything very quickly and barely gave me any time to talk. Then, he proceeded to tell me a story about his childhood where he experienced worse circumstances than my present ones. This was all after I explained the predisposition for anxiety in my family history and how I’ve been feeling anxiety for years.
At the time, I felt very vulnerable and drained after my attack. I decided to go with the doctor’s instructions because I didn’t know any better. I had seen this doctor before for other ailments, so I thought I could trust him.
After I gained my sanity back, I realized his behavior was wrong and unacceptable. It’s very important to know when your doctor isn’t right. Here are some signs and examples of how to know when you should change doctors.
SIGNS YOU SHOULD CHANGE DOCTORS
Your doctor barely examines your symptoms.
Normally before you see the doctor, there’s a nurse who comes in and records your symptoms and takes your vitals. Then, the nurse puts you in a room and you wait for the doctor to step in and examine your symptoms further. If your doctor examines you without going over every symptom in detail, then you need to get out of there. Chances are the doctor quickly glanced over your chart and prematurely made a diagnosis. This can be very harmful for you in the long run because you might be prescribed medication you don’t need plus the original problem still exists.
Your doctor “sympathizes” with you.
When you recant your story to your doctor, he or she should actively listen and sympathize with your problem. This is how the doctor concludes a proper solution and successfully treats you and other patients. If you suspect your doctor isn’t listening or obviously doesn’t care then you should change doctors. You don’t need a doctor who cuts you off, continues to tell their own story of hardship, and finishes with how your problems are small in comparison. This is downright rude and offensive. (Can you believe that actually happened to me?!)
You and your doctor have a formal relationship.
This might not make sense at first, but here me out. When you first visit your doctor, you will most likely have a very formal relationship because you don’t know each other yet. As time progresses and your visits become frequent, you will get to know one another on a very personal level. If your doctor still keeps the same amount of formalness in your tenth visit as your first, then you should change doctors. Your doctor should always stay professional, but also personal as well. This shows they care about you and (more importantly) your health.
Your doctor doesn’t check in with you after your visit.
I don’t believe doctors are required to check in with patients after visits, but they should out of courtesy. If this is the only problem you have with your doctor, then you probably shouldn’t change doctors. If you notice your doctor shows other signs including this one, definitely change doctors. Checking in with patients demonstrates care and concern. It also shows you’re worth their time, especially if they check in while they’re off the clock.
You’re nervous or uneasy around your doctor.
This is an immediate red flag. It’s understandable to be uneasy or uncomfortable with why you’re seeing a doctor. It’s not okay if you’re uneasy or uncomfortable because of your doctor. You need a doctor who will make you feel safe and calm no matter what circumstances. If you feel nervous or anxious around your doctor, then you should absolutely change doctors.
WHY I LOVE MY CURRENT DOCTOR
After my horrible doctor’s visit, I changed doctors. A few weeks later, I had another panic attack. Imagine that. I went to a completely different clinic and happened to see a doctor who turned out to be amazing. She exhibited the opposite of every sign mentioned in this post.
She listened to me, sympathized with my anxiety issues, and made me feel extremely comfortable. Then, she diagnosed me with Anxiety induced Depression and prescribed long term medication. Lastly, she called me later that night to check and see how I was doing. So thoughtful and sweet!
It’s not fun going to see a doctor, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Hopefully this helped you think a little more about your situation with your doctor. Remember to always keep in mind what’s best for you and your health!
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- As mentioned above, Struggling with Anxiety and Depression: My Story
- Some of the information provided came from U.S. News’s article When to Fire Your Doctor by Angela Haupt.