How do I talk to my doctor when they don't seem to listen?

May 2, 2017

Going to the doctor can be a challenging experience for a variety of reasons- you have to wait for a very long time before getting checked out, you are scared that your symptoms may be something serious, fear of needles, or perhaps your doctor makes you feel like s/he only has 2 minutes to talk to you before moving on to the next patient. Here are a few tips for talking to your doctor.

 

-Breath deep- anxiety never helps anyone think clearly in a challenging situation. Take a few deep breaths while waiting to be seen especially if you’re prone to anxiety at the doctor’s office.

-Prepare your questions ahead of time and write them down. Try to limit your questions to 3-4 questions or issues in order of importance because you’re right, your doctor doesn’t have a ton of time to speak with you. It’s helpful to get your most important thoughts out first in case you only have time for 1-2 questions.

-If you have a friend/family member who is in the medical field, try to get info from them ahead of time in order to narrow down your thoughts or symptoms that seem more concerning to mention to your doctor first and write down any medical language that might help you in your discussion with your doctor. Do NOT try to narrow down your symptoms by Googling them. You will likely only feel more confused/anxious afterwards.

-Take notes on what your doctor says if you are in a high anxiety state at the doctor. That way, you can go back and review what s/he has said later on.

-Ultimately, if you do not feel like your doctor is listening, gently remind them that you are confused about this medical issue and you need their help.

 

Remember that your doctor is trying the best s/he can to help you given the information you’ve provided. If you’re working with a provider who you feel is not listening to you or does not have your best interests and health at heart, find someone who takes you seriously.

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