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Thread: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

  1. #1
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    Apr 2008
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    Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    Sometimes I ask my brother or my husband how they manage not to worry when they start to experience strange symptoms, or even about existing health conditions. I think, besides being able to compartmentalize better, they also implicitly trust their doctors, and they haven't had a traumatic event in their past that triggered anxiety or the habit of catastrophizing. The latter can be improved with counseling. But the former is more difficult to manage. It's repeated often in the forum's that we need to trust our doctor's judgment. But if we've had a genuine breakdown of trust with our doctor, sometimes the best solution is to find a new doctor. I was talking about this with my internist, because my GP is the type that becomes annoyed by complex chronic health problems. And the internist mentioned how important it is to find a doctor one can trust, saying that I may need to look for a new one. Depending on the situation, this is sometimes the best solution. In the process of fighting anxiety, we need to learn how to recognize and manage our anxious thought patterns, how to trust our gut when it's warning us about a real problem with a doctor, and how to tell the difference between the two. For example, my family's previous GP was convinced that our symptoms were due to anxiety and stress, and as a result my brother ended up in therapy for a year before his symptoms were recognized as a chronic illness, and that recognition only came about because of my extensive research into my own chronic illness. When my brother asked for a referral to the appropriate specialist, our GP gave it grudgingly and with disdain, yet that specialist ended up giving my brother the diagnosis I suspected, and was able to give him important guidelines for managing his chronic illness. That's partly why I link to RateMDs in my signature, because our fight against anxiety will be more successful if we know our doctors are worthy of our trust.
    __________________
    I encourage anyone who's struggling with their doctor to take your health into your own hands. You can always start by checking reviews at www.RateMDs.com. And don't forget to leave a positive review for the doctors you appreciate! FYI: Here are some tips on writing an online review of your doctors: http://abt.cm/1lZUdaF

  2. #2
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    Re: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    My main issues are autoimmune so I know a lot about this subject. I've done extensive research and attended group meetings so I actually know far more than my Dr about these conditions. She even acknowledges this.

    Drs in New Zealand aren't particularly clued up about autoimmune conditions. CFS isn't even recognised as an illness here, although things are changing.

    If I have an issue I can't get any resolution with, I always see a specialist as they know in depth about these things. For general issues I do trust my Dr but for anything out of the ordinary, I see a specialist and take the safe option.

  3. #3
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    Re: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    I am always down at GP for one thing or another, I get concerned about every symptom as the big c, I do suffer from health anxiety, it hard for my parents to understand and it causes a lot of problems.
    I do attend group sessions one a fortnight, it a self help group.

    ---------- Post added at 12:26 ---------- Previous post was at 11:35 ----------


  4. #4
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    Re: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    Quote Originally Posted by WiseMonkey View Post
    My main issues are autoimmune so I know a lot about this subject. I've done extensive research and attended group meetings so I actually know far more than my Dr about these conditions. She even acknowledges this.
    WiseMonkey, it's really wonderful that your doctor recognizes and validates your knowledge about your illness. I find it's common with chronic illness that patients know more than their family doctors, because we've had no choice but to do the research in order to find out what's causing our problems and which specialists can help us.
    __________________
    I encourage anyone who's struggling with their doctor to take your health into your own hands. You can always start by checking reviews at www.RateMDs.com. And don't forget to leave a positive review for the doctors you appreciate! FYI: Here are some tips on writing an online review of your doctors: http://abt.cm/1lZUdaF

  5. #5
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    Re: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    Quote Originally Posted by WiseMonkey View Post
    Drs in New Zealand aren't particularly clued up about autoimmune conditions. CFS isn't even recognised as an illness here, although things are changing.
    I hope things are changing faster these days, because so many people have CFS and suffer needlessly because their doctors don't know or don't validate chronic fatigue syndrome (aka myalgic encephalomyelitis) as a biological condition. Thankfully, the World Health Education now does, and there's an international consensus document available on the criteria for a diagnosis. There is hope on the horizon!
    __________________
    I encourage anyone who's struggling with their doctor to take your health into your own hands. You can always start by checking reviews at www.RateMDs.com. And don't forget to leave a positive review for the doctors you appreciate! FYI: Here are some tips on writing an online review of your doctors: http://abt.cm/1lZUdaF

  6. #6
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    Apr 2008
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    376

    Re: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    Quote Originally Posted by unsure_about_this View Post
    I am always down at GP for one thing or another, I get concerned about every symptom as the big c, I do suffer from health anxiety, it hard for my parents to understand and it causes a lot of problems.
    I do attend group sessions one a fortnight, it a self help group.
    I hope you're doing better since you last posted this, unsure_about_this! Has the self-help group benefited you so far?
    __________________
    I encourage anyone who's struggling with their doctor to take your health into your own hands. You can always start by checking reviews at www.RateMDs.com. And don't forget to leave a positive review for the doctors you appreciate! FYI: Here are some tips on writing an online review of your doctors: http://abt.cm/1lZUdaF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    376

    Re: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    This topic came to mind again recently, and I realize I forgot to share some of my family's more life-changing experiences in my first post above. Foremost was my parents' former family doctor who denied my Dad a referral for symptoms that were later found to be early-onset dementia (Lewy Body). The disease was excruciating, and sadly the process of getting Dad diagnosed was also a nightmare because doctors and specialists were either rude or resistant to helping my parents get to the bottom of Dad's symptoms. We were already alarmed, more stressed that we had ever been, and grieving, so we needed support from our doctors, not their bad attitudes.

    As I mentioned above, assuming that my brother had anxiety, one family doctor sent him to counseling with a social worker for an entire year before *my* research compelled the doctor to give my brother the specialist referrals which later led to a diagnosis of a blood pressure disorder. That's a whole year that my brother's suffering could've been prevented.

    Then, when I had idiopathic leg pain for weeks, another primary care physician wanted me to take the maximum amount of Tylenol daily indefinitely. I seriously doubted the need to expose my system to a steady stream of acetaminophen. Thankfully, my naturopath solved my leg pain almost overnight with magnesium malate supplements.

    So I've learned over the last 16 years that doctors have to earn our trust--credentials alone don't require us to trust them blindly. Be your own advocates, do your research, demand proper treatment, and find better doctors if necessary. Your life and quality of life are worth it.
    __________________
    I encourage anyone who's struggling with their doctor to take your health into your own hands. You can always start by checking reviews at www.RateMDs.com. And don't forget to leave a positive review for the doctors you appreciate! FYI: Here are some tips on writing an online review of your doctors: http://abt.cm/1lZUdaF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    362

    Re: Health anxiety, catastrophizing, and trust in our doctors

    Isnít this so hard for someone with anxiety though? For example, Iíve seen quite a few GPís.... they all say I donít have MS, Iíve had 3 instances of odd symptoms like burning skin, tingling, numb shoulder, fuzzy head, etc

    Iíve had my eyes thoroughly checked inc an OCT scan just yesterday and I had a MRI that was clear after the first instance of symptoms 6 or 7 years ago.

    Now ... do I trust it all or do I worry with my HA brain that it didnít show on the first scan, that it was too long ago, that I need my neck and spine doing with an MRI as well, etc

    Striking a balance between being irrational and trusting docs, my HA started because I donít trust docs because I was misdiagnosed for ages as a kid so itís really hard !

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