How to get doctors to take your chronic illness seriously

Dealing with skepticism is one of the many challenges of living with chronic illness. You might expect people without a medical background to question your illness, but it can be just as difficult to convince doctors that your symptoms are real. If your last doctor’s visit left you feeling frustrated and alone, these tips from people living with chronic illness will help prepare you for future appointments. 

1. Describe how your life is affected

Instead of just listing your symptoms, explain how they affect your life. Maybe back pain has forced you to stop driving, or lack of sleep caused you to have an accident at work.

Whatever the specifics, laying out the consequences of your illness will help your doctor empathize. This also helps family and friends get a better idea of what you’re experiencing. While they can’t actually feel your pain, they can imagine the effects of your illness in their own lives.

2. Write everything down

It’s easy to forget to mention something to your doctor, especially if appointments cause stress and anxiety. Write down everything that might be relevant to your condition, including:

  • A daily symptom diary
  • Medication logs
  • Previous health issues, even if they’ve been resolved
  • Family medical history
  • Questions for your doctor

3. Do your research

Becoming more informed about your illness makes it easier to advocate for yourself during appointments. Read articles from reputable health authorities and keep up-to-date with new research and clinical trials. Knowing more allows you to keep asking your doctor the right questions, and shows you’re serious about your condition.

4. Be vocal

The power dynamic in doctor-patient relationships can make it difficult to be assertive. But doctors can’t predict what you’re thinking or feeling. If you’re worried about something specific or feel like a treatment is working, speak up. Be polite, but make sure you ask questions and give your opinion.

5. Bring support

Bring a close friend or family member to your next appointment. It’s easier to ask questions and raise concerns with someone there to support you. As an added bonus, an extra set of ears makes it easier to remember your doctor’s advice and treatment plans.

6. Switch doctors

Still feel like you’re not being heard? It may be time to find a new doctor. The next physician you see probably won’t have a magic cure up their sleeve, but trusting that your doctor takes you and your health seriously is important for your mental wellbeing. When you’re having difficult symptoms, the last thing you want is to visit someone who makes you feel dismissed.

Finding a new doctor might be challenging if you see a specialist or live in a remote area.

American Medical Association’s DoctorFinder, which lets you search through thousands of licensed doctors by location and specialty.

Healthgrades.com provides doctor information based on location, specialty or condition, and allows you to filter results by availability and insurance provider.

Save money on chronic illness medication

No matter what kind of relationship you have with your doctor, chronic illness is expensive. Appointments, procedures, and medications all add up and contribute to the stress of being sick. With lower prices than local pharmacies and direct delivery, Canada Med Stop saves you money and eliminates painful trips to the pharmacy. Click here to search for your prescriptions, and place an order online today.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.