Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Addiction Recovery-Is Your Doctor Giving You All You Need

Lets face it…the medical profession is not what it used to be back in the days of home visits and more flexible schedules. A lot of doctors are overworked and underpaid and of course there is the insurance crisis. Taking all of that into consideration I still feel powerfully that patients have rights and that sensitive (not just expert) medical care can make the difference between health or recovery and continued addiction.

Some advice for making sure your doctor is giving you all you need:

1) Whenever feasible, get a referral from a trusted person. Even if you’re on a plan that requires you to see a certain doctor you still have options. If you’re not getting your needs met switch to another doctor on the plan.

2) Have a list of questions prepared for your doctor before you get to the appointment and make it your objective to get them all answered. Your appointment is YOUR time and the majority of doctors would prefer to spend a little extra time with you than to have frequent phone calls with random questions.

3) Tell your doctor upfront that you have a list that you want to address at THIS appointment. Don't get pushed into making another appointment because she couldn't answer all your questions. If your doctor is clearly hurried (maybe he has a true emergency waiting) ask that he call you on the phone afterward so that you can get your questions answered.

4) A few doctors (not all) are aggravated by knowledgeable patients because they don't want to be second guessed and they don't want to have to clear their treatment through the patient. That is never a good sign and it is definitely not a good reason to be uneducated. A really good doctor will welcome your input and opinions. After all, it is your body. That said, you need to find a doctor that you trust enough to make the final call about your treatment.

5) You are just as significant as any other patient that doctor is seeing that day. Your circumstances may not be as critical as someone else's and you should respect that but doctors must be clear about their own limitations on any given day and make themselves available to you at another time if they are not able to answer all your questions.

Be proactive in your treatment and recovery as it is important for you to look out for yourself.

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