The Patient-Doctor Relationship And Self-Care

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Self-Care Tip – Explore self-care in ways where you do have choice, including healthy alliances with your connections.

PattyAnne came in knowing what she wanted.  She was sure she was struggling with ADHD because she could not focus, she had difficulty connecting with others and she was impulsive.  This was limiting her intimacy and ability to love and be loved by the people she wanted in her life.  PattyAnne had read about ADHD and was relieved thinking that taking a stimulant would improve her that much.

Getting ADHD as a diagnosis would explain to the people she would hurt why she hurt them.  It would give PattyAnne a name for the chaos that followed her or preceded her – she could not tell which.  Having a diagnosis that comes from a figure of perceived authority, say a Doctor of Medicine, offers this.  It is much like a judge who pronounces us innocent and another guilty.  This is not a bad or good motive.  It just is.  It is natural, as far as I can tell, to want to get away from implied or direct negatively perceived labels.

As a practitioner, it is not that easy to resist the lure of treatment when it would be so easy to make our patient happy.  It also takes a lot more time in patient education and building a trust relationship if we don’t agree with the patient’s self-diagnosis.  These pressures are real for any practitioner and many have wondered if the frequency of prescribing is affected by it.  For example, it is estimated that 73% of doctor visits for sore throats result in antibiotic prescriptions, but over 90% of sore throats do not respond to antibiotics.   (I know.  That is robbery!  Those poor other patients who got nothing for their copays!  Not even a prescription!)

So in comes PattyAnne, diagnosis and treatment already in place, all she thinks she needs is my signature.  It is not easy to be a patient.  Being a patient is a hard job in fact.  It requires at least some insight or the ability to receive insight, a vulnerable pose, humility, courage, self-respect and so much more.  Maybe PattyAnne was thinking, “Oh boy.  Now I got this woman who does not know that I’m ADHD!”

We have each other and begin the adventure of doctor-patient relationship, an alliance and a connection.

Questions:   What does a doctor-patient relationship mean to you?  How do you see your involvement in choice and control inside of it?  Please tell me your story.