What to Do When Your Doctor Isn't Listening to You

Many of us have been here before: you’ve got a problem and it’s time that it’s addressed, so you finally drag yourself into the doctor’s office. You barely manage to relay your symptoms before the doctor jumps in with an explanation that doesn’t seem quite right. You feel frustrated and belittled, but you slide off the table and accept whatever answer you’ve been given, even if it seems like total BS. This method might save you an awkward moment or uncomfortable confrontation, but it’s no way to solve a problem. The good news is that there are strategies you can use to get the most out of your doctor's appointment.


1. Go in with a Plan

The first step to getting what you want out of an appointment is to know what you want out of the appointment. Make a goal for the appointment and rehearse your communication plan beforehand. If your be all, end all is a diagnosis, then keep that in mind. Or maybe you don’t want an explanation but a more comprehensive treatment plan. Make sure you tell your doctor what you expect out of the appointment.



2. Make a List

Many of us have difficulty explaining exactly what we’re feeling and when we are feeling it. This becomes especially hard when the symptoms have been going on for a long period of time. Keep and bring a journal documenting exactly what you feel and when the symptoms come on. If there is anything that relieves your symptoms, keep track of that as well. The more detailed information you can bring, the better chance you have of getting accurate treatment.


3. Bring Someone with You

This strategy has two main purposes. First, having a comforting presence in the room can make you feel more confident and let you speak your mind adequately. Second, it introduces a third party that can hold your doctor responsible for the care they give. Bringing in backup is never a bad idea.



4. Let Them Know You’re Unsatisfied

If the appointment is drawing to a close and you feel as though your problem has not been properly addressed, then let the doctor know. Your doctor can't read your mind and having open communication will get you closer to the goal of your appointment. If nothing else, your doctor may take you more seriously the next time you walk through the door.


5. Go to Another Doctor

If one doctor isn’t meeting your needs, then try another. It’s unfortunate that doctors don't all give the same degree of care; however, you’re never locked in a contract with your doctor. A quick Google search can lead you to walk-in clinics and doctor’s offices that accept new patients in your immediate area.