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Trust Issues – Learn to Trust Your Doctor

I have trust issues, but then, I think everyone does. We all grow up with people disappointing us and breaking our trust. It’s just a part of becoming an adult.

But unfortunately, all relationships are based on trust, and this includes one with a doctor. It’s essential to be able to trust what your doctor says and does. You have to be able to believe in what he’s saying in order to try treatments that are often unpleasant and might make you feel worse before they make you feel better.

But doctors do a lot of things to break that trust, sometimes because they have to and sometimes simply because they do. So how’s a patient to get over broken trust in a relationship with a doctor?

Doctors Breaking Trust

There are so many ways for doctors to break trust and it all depends on your relationship expectations. For example, if a doctor fails to tell you about side effects and then a medication makes you very sick, you might feel that trust has been broken. Or being committed to an institution without your consent can easily feel like broken trust, even when admission is absolutely necessary.

And when trust is broken with a doctor, it may spill into relationships with every doctor, so even a doctor in the future can suffer from the sins committed in the past. And let’s not forget, doctors also have to be able to trust their patients. They have to trust you will take the medication and that you will be honest with them. This too can hamper a doctor-patient relationship.

A Patient Needs to Trust a Doctor

But you need to be able to trust your doctor. No matter what else is happening, you have to have a basic trust that your doctor has your best interest at heart. If you don’t have that, how can you ever successfully work together?

Learning to Trust a Doctor

mp9003877761As the saying goes, trust is earned, but don’t expect a doctor to jump through hoops to prove their trustworthiness. No, instead it’s more like walking out onto a frozen pond. At first you take a few tentative steps where the ice is the thickest and most supportive and then, over time, you find yourself skating from bank to bank, confident the ice will hold your weight.

So start small with a doctor. As my friend would say, trust but verify. Take the doctor at his word, but check on what he’s saying. Look information up on the internet. Ask questions. Do not blindly walk wherever he tells you to. Take baby steps.

This will give you a chance to find out who your doctor is and what type of relationship expectations you both have. Maybe you’re made for each other. Maybe you’re not. By treading gently, you can step back when the ice cracks instead of when you’re engulfed in icy water.

If the Trust Has Been Broken

And if you feel the trust has already been broken be open about it. He can’t express his viewpoint or explain why he behaved the way he did if you don’t give him the chance. And the doctor may not know you feel the trust has been broken and he can’t work to fix something he doesn’t know isn’t working.

And if nothing else, when things are rocky, remind yourself that your doctor didn’t go through a decade of schooling to mess with you. He likely did it because he wants to help people and he likely wants to help you too. You both just need to find the best way to make that happen.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

3 thoughts on “Trust Issues – Learn to Trust Your Doctor”

  1. I trusted my doctor, but I don’t think I will ever be going back after what his staff did to me.
    I have been on SSRIs for over a dozen years continuously. In the last year my doctor’s office set up an arrangement with the local pharmacies that the pharmacist would call in refills when they were needed. I, as a patient, no longer needed to do this.
    This worked out for awhile, and then the doctor’s office started dropping the ball. They didn’t respond to the pharmacy, even over a period of several days. I would call them and be promised that I could pick up my meds, and then they would not be available. I would be forced to squat at the pharmacy and keep bothering these people who were doing their jobs properly, because my SSRI’s were going to run out and at that point I would not be able to function well enough to do anything to get them.
    This situation kept getting worse, and myself more anxious and desperate, until the last instance When I ended up going to my doctors office and refusing to leave until the problem was dealt with.
    Everything goes through one senior office staff person there. He told me that they hadn’t gotten the request from the pharmacy. Then he told me that I couldn’t have any refills until I saw the doctor, which I could do in two weeks. He was telling me to completely and suddenly discontinue after over a decade of constant use.
    My doctor would not do this. Even if he weren’t a good man, and kind, which he is, this is criminally negligent. I said as much to the man on the other side of the plexiglass. He said he would try to talk to the doctor. I waited 20 minutes. He said the doctor would write me a scrip to cover me until an appointment. I waited another 20 minutes. He then said I didn’t have to wait for the scrip, they would fax it to the pharmacy. I asked if they were sure, they said yes.
    I went to the pharmacy. No scrip. I had to ask them to call the doctors. They were told to leave a message. I waited there another half hour, asked them to call again. This time they were told that I was not being given a refill scrip. I had to ask them to call back again. This dropped them into the lunch period when phones were not answered. Eventually I had to leave.

    I had my antidepressants discontinued by the decision of the /secretary/ of the clinic, who found me annoying and wanted me to stop bothering him. Might as well put a gun to my head, it would have been kinder. I sit here, going through the kind of withdrawal many of you can imagine, and I have to wonder how many other people has this man done similar things to. How many helpless trusting people have been abused in this fashion? Has anyone died of it? It is a distinct possibility.
    This needs to be stopped, but I have no idea how. Anything sent to the clinic will do directly to this man. I haven’t been able to find any venue to register a complaint, ask for an investigation, anything to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

    Can anyone help with this? The location is Western Pennsylvania, the medical organization is UPMC.

  2. Hi Natasha,
    Excellent! I agree with you. I have another “problem” with my psychiatrist. Or so I think. I am afraid that I talk to much regarding my treatment. You see I have a lot of knowledge regarding pharmaceutical treatments and mechanisms. And research. It is not surprising since I have a masters degree in pharmaceutical science and have worked with clinical research for 11 years. My point is that I feel that maybe I get to close to be on the “same level” as my psychiatrist. In terms of science and medication. Of course not the psychiatric “stuff”. But I am afraid my doctor might think that I have better control of my bipolar “state” than I have. I do not have control. Not at all. I am becoming more rapid cycling. Maybe I just should “shut up”. It is “great” when I am really depressed. Then I do not talk at all. And my brain feels like thick syrup. As you probably already figured out, I have an issue when I am hypo manic. Then I just keep talking regarding medication and science. On and on and on. I want to be A patient. Maybe I am just imagining things? I have had one real issue. My prior psychiatrist and I became friends and we were actually actively planning to start a business together! How weird is that? And I can tell you it is not good to have a doctor who becomes your “real” friend. I have a new doctor now (since May). And she is absolutely great. But I do not want to ruin things. That I maybe do not get the help I really need. I do not want her to think about me as “Johan”, I want her to think of me as THE patient. But on the other hand I do want to be involved and discuss treatments etc. But I do not know where to “draw the line”. And now I am falling down. More into depression. I am afraid that my doctor and nurse won’t take me “seriously”. I think that she does not realize how bad I am right now. No one does. I am that happy, funny outgoing guy Johan. They just do not look behind the mask. But the mask is transparent. Why do not people see that? Why does “everyone” think I am happy? When all I think of is the dark abyss. It is strange that no one take it seriously when you say you have suicidal thoughts. Mutilation. My boss told me the other day “Johan, are you always this happy and positive. Everybody likes you”. I do not feel good. I have these real dark thoughts. Why is that no one can notice it? My nurse did not even react when she saw the razorblade in my wallet. That I fortunately gave to her and she threw it away. Why did not anything “happen”. Do they not realize? Do I look so happy? I do not feel like my face is looking happy. I am tired. I am bipolar but I apparently do not have those two well known faces. The happy and sad. From the theatre. I seems like I just have that happy face. It just feels awkward. Unreal. Nd all of the time I just keep falling, falling, falling, tumbling, falling, tumbling, falling… and no one notices. I try. Have tried. I do not understand. I am not in control. People think. Why? My doctor know that I am depressed. But why does she not realize how bad it is? Does she think I have control. Due to my education? My research experiences? I just want to give in. Let someone else take control I guess. I do not have control.
    So you see. Why do no one see through me? Not my psychiatrist, not my nurse, colleagues my family.

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