How Can I Get My Doctor To Take Me Seriously?

First of all, take yourself seriously. Second, make sure your appraisal that he or she is not taking you seriously is accurate. I have no intention of appearing glib in saying this. Not wanting to fill the stereotype of the middle aged neurotic woman or the dual role of neurotic and hypochondriac, I have been known to recount my symptoms to a doctor more lightheartedly than is appropriate.

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I remember often working very hard to make sure that I sounded well-adjusted and not too serious about myself. I can certainly understand, in retrospect, why the doctor jollied me along and didn't get too concerned about my problems, either. After all, if I was not exhibiting a serious desire for full answers, why in the world would he offer more information than I appeared to want? So, take yourself and your concerns and questions seriously and present them in a serious and concerned manner.

What is the best way to prepare for a productive VISIT WITH MY PHYSICIAN?

Make a list of your questions and use it as the source of your dialogue.

If your doctor still seems to be treating you with a pat on the head, everything will be all right, just trust me, and go on about your life routine, then I would ask her or him simply and directly whether she or he takes your problems seriously, and, if so, explain that you would like to receive a complete and understandable explanation of whatever it is you want to know. None of this dialogue should be undertaken in anything but a pleasant, noncombative manner. If you still cannot resolve your sense of not being taken seriously, it's time to go doctor-shopping.

By the way, if you do make a list for discussion, make it pertinent to that visit, between three and five questions, perhaps. One physician with whom I worked recently suggested that a physician is not prepared with enough time to go through a lifetime of concerns in one visit, unless you have asked in advance for extra consultation time. Developing the right relationship takes time and is created over time.

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