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Better to ask or tell?

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Misknown Member
So once upon a time my mom went to the doctor for medication. Specific medication that her friend had been on that helped her with x mental illness. A mental illness that is common and has many different medications and treatments.

She asked the doctor who she had just met for it and he just prescribed it to her like that, no questions asked.

This really annoyed me because the doctor did nothing to investigate her symptoms and gave it to her nearly upon request. The medication did not work and instead worsened her moods.

I'm aware drugs for mental illness can be a hit and miss and its through trial and error you figure out what medication and dosage works for you, but to not investigate at all before prescribing? This could have saved my mom a lot of time and money. If they had set her up with a psychiatrist and found out that she does not have x illness but instead y illness.

Flash forward to my many experiences over the years. I've avoided telling which prescriptions to prescribe, what illnesses I possibly could have that I googled and focused more on telling the symptoms so the doctors with all this apparent vast medical knowledge would do their job and investigate to diagnose.

The problem is many never investigate. So even though its advised against outright telling your doctor what you think you have or need, I'm beginning to think it's necessary.

You know your body more than anyone. And with the vast amounts of research I've done on my own conditions I feel I even have a better idea of my condition than they do. Especially since they're not willing to listen to patient experience. Could be different in other countries but this is overtly American behavior in the medical field.

So please, what are your thoughts? Is it more beneficial to ask for a diagnosis or to tell them what you think you are afflicted with? Is it better to tell them about a medication you've been looking into or ask for a prescription?

Based on your experience and or medical knowledge.

Legate Lanius

Well-Known Member
Depends on how smart the doctor is. When it comes to mental health, you may not be in the right mind to make all of the calls by yourself. If it's purely physical ailments, then listen to the doctor 90% of the time. I made the call to stop medication and therapy for my depression since it had the same effect as taking money and shoving it into a furnace.


Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
Both can be equally beneficial, asking for a diagnosis or discussing your thoughts on what you may be afflicted with or which medication may be of interest.

Based on my experience as a pharmacist, lot depends on the doctor as well as the level of knowledge of the patient. Regarding doctors, some will listen to their patients, others would barely acknowledge what is being said to them. You can get some who will practise defensive prescribing, and others who will write out on the prescription pad whatever the patient asks so as to save time.

With patients, I've come across individuals right across the spectrum. Some have requested meds because they've seen their neighbour take them and would like to give it a try because the design of the packaging would look good as a piece of art lying on their coffee table. Others though, are wired up, and know what they are talking about, regarding symptoms, meds. monitoring, the whole fucking show. For instance, I once conducted a medicines review on a patient with Type 1 diabetes, high BP and coronary heart disease. In under a minute it was apparent that he really knew his shit, much to the point that if I could, I would've let him conduct the rest of the reviews with other patients for me whilst I fuck off for a coffee and a donut.

Personally, the way I see it, it's simple. It should always be about information gathering on both sides, doctors and patients actually engaging with each other. It's something which over here in the UK is known as "patient centreed care," whereby the patient has some involvement in the treatment decisions. This way of working was a big thing within the NHS when it was first bandied about around 6-7 yrs ago, as if they had discovered fire or something. Personally I saw it as common sense and had been working that way for many years before.
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