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How to Stop Your Doctor from Gaslighting You

Updated: May 31

I have family members and friends who have been gaslit by their doctor. Unfortunately, medical gaslighting is more common than it should be. Medical gaslighting is when a healthcare professional downplays, dismisses, or questions your symptoms, leading you to doubt your own experiences and judgments. It can also happen when a healthcare professional deems your symptoms to be primarily psychological (when they are not).

One of the (many) problems with medical gaslighting is that it can lead to misdiagnosis, delay in care, mistreatment, poor health outcomes and so much more. Here are ways to make sure your doctor doesn't gaslight you.

1. Let Your Doctor Know Your Concerns Up Front

Help keep you and your doctor on track by telling your doctor what concerns you have right at the beginning of the office visit. This will ensure that your office visit doesn't get derailed with other issues or end before you have a chance to bring up medical issues and your doctor has the chance to address them.

2. Write Your Questions Down Before Your Office Visit

We all forget to ask important questions at the doctor's office. Make sure you don't forget by writing down your important questions and bringing them to your office visit.

3. Keep a Symptom Journal

Maintaining a detailed record of your symptoms can provide concrete evidence to support your concerns. Document the onset, frequency, duration, and intensity of your symptoms, along with any triggers or relieving factors. This not only helps you track your health but also offers your doctor a comprehensive view of your condition, making it harder for them to dismiss your concerns.

4. Bring a Support Person

Having a trusted friend or family member accompany you to appointments can provide emotional support and an additional perspective. They can help recall details you might forget, ask pertinent questions, and corroborate your symptoms and experiences. This added support can make it more difficult for your doctor to dismiss or undermine your concerns.

5. Understand Next Steps

Never leave your doctor's office without understanding EXACTLY what happens next. Should you get labs done? Return to the office in 2 weeks? See a specialist first? Make sure you know what your action items are and if you don't, please ask your doctor to clarify them for you.

6. Listen to Yourself

You know your mind and your body. Listen to yourself and never hesitate to do so.

7. Request a Second Opinion

If you feel your concerns are being ignored or trivialized, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion. Another doctor may provide a fresh perspective and take your symptoms more seriously. It's your right to seek out a healthcare professional who respects and validates your experiences.

8. Switch Doctors if Necessary

If all else fails, it might be time to find a new doctor. Your health and well-being are paramount, and you deserve to work with a healthcare professional who listens to and respects you. Don’t be afraid to make a change if you feel your current doctor isn’t meeting your needs.

By following these steps, you can take an active role in your healthcare and protect yourself from being gaslighted. Remember, you are your own best advocate, and your experiences and concerns are valid.

Lots of Love,

Dr. Jen

Dr. Jen Caudle is a board-certified Family Physician, Associate Professor at Rowan University,  tv health expert, and video creator. I invite you to subscribe to my Meditation Channel on YouTube.  Also, follow me on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

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De W
De W
May 31

Thanks SO much Dr Jen! This is exactly what my previous Dr did to me. The one we have now has done it before too. His PA does a much better job of listening and explaining and sending me to the correct specialist without messing around doubting my problems. I know a doctor’s time is valuable, but so is my life! Thank you again, I love following you.

Blessings, Durinda W


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