A good primary care physician can be an invaluable asset for pursuing the healthy life you want. But sometimes, a doctor can be less than helpful, or at worst, harmful to your overall well-being.
Today we'll look at five signs that indicate your doctor isn't a good fit for you and how to know when it's time to find a new one.
Not All Doctors Are The Same
Do you look forward to seeing your doctor? Does he or she make you feel heard and offer helpful advice, genuinely caring about how you want to pursue your health goals?
If you're surprised that anyone could answer these questions with a yes, here's some good news: great doctors are out there. They might not always be easy to find, but they're worth the search.
Below, we'll go through five indicators that your current doctor isn't the right one for you. If you recognize these experiences, don't hesitate– start seeking a new primary care physician. You'll be amazed at the progress you can make when your medical support professionals are aligned with your values and needs.
There are great doctors out there and you deserve one. If your doctor shows any of the signs below, you should consider finding a new doctor.
1. Your Doctor Doesn't Like Questions
Pay attention to how your doctor reacts to the questions you ask. If they brush off your questions, become dismissive, or don't give you a clear answer, that's a red flag. Your doctor works for you, so when you're sitting in his or her office, your questions should be answered. That's why you set up the appointment!
A doctor who doesn't take your questions seriously doesn't take your health seriously. It's as simple as that. He or she should be able and happy to explain any procedure, test, medication, or recommendation.
If your doctor doesn't listen to your questions, take them seriously, and provide an answer then you need to find another doctor.
2. Your Doctor Doesn't Listen
If you're sitting on the examining table explaining a problem or describing your health goals and your doctor isn't paying attention, you should mention that during your visit.
A good doctor has to listen to you to be able to help you. No one knows what's going on with your health the way you do. If your doctor is too busy multi-tasking, managing staff, or trying to get out the door, then they aren't going to understand your situation well enough to provide useful guidance.
Try asking for your doctor's full attention. That might be enough to help him or her realize that you need them to listen fully. If that doesn't help, or if he or she gets defensive– it's time for you to go somewhere else.
If your doctor doesn't give their full attention to you when you talk– ask for it. If you still don't get it, then you should find a doctor who listens.
3. Your Doctor Is Quick To Prescribe Medications
Does your doctor try to prescribe you a new medication every time you see him or her? You may be seeing an over-prescriber.
Many doctors lean on prescription drugs as a quick fix instead of first discussing lifestyle shifts, like changes to diet and exercise. Drugs come with side effects that are sometimes worse than the condition they're supposed to treat. But some doctors don't trust their patients to make the lifestyle changes needed to correct a problem naturally. Instead, they load them up with drugs.
Savers are all too familiar with this dynamic. Even though osteoporosis drugs have been shown to be ineffective and dangerous, doctors keep prescribing them instead of safe and proven-effective changes to diet and exercise.
Every drug is acidifying and puts additional strain on your liver, so Savers should avoid taking drugs whenever a non-pharmaceutical intervention is possible. If your doctor is an over-prescriber and won't' put down the pad to consider non-pharmaceutical interventions, then you might need to write yourself a prescription for a new doctor.
Many doctors lean on prescription drugs as a quick fix, without trusting that their patients could change their diet and exercise habits to address the same problems more safely and effectively. Find a doctor who supports non-pharmaceutical interventions.
4. Your Doctor Promotes Treatments Without Explaining Side-Effects And Limitations
Some doctors will talk about every treatment like it's a miracle cure– but that's seldom the case. This habit is particularly common among over-prescribers. Some doctors get their information directly from Big Pharma. Drug companies spend billions promoting their drugs directly to medical practitioners to convince them to write prescriptions.
In the event that a prescription drug is the only remaining option for treatment, your doctor should give you a detailed description of the potential side-effects and the limitations of the drug.
Many drugs are only effective for a small percentage of users. And different non-pharmaceutical interventions more often than not work best. Your doctor needs to set accurate expectations because an unexpected and disappointing result from one approach could discourage you from pursuing the next one.
An additional red flag to look out for is a doctor who prescribes without asking what drugs or supplements you are currently taking. Drug interactions can be serious.
A report from the Lown Institute found that nearly 20 percent of Americans take more than 10 prescription drugs and that with each additional drug, the odds of experiencing a severe adverse reaction to medication increase by as much as 10 percent.1
Be sure your doctor is honest about the potential of every treatment, including side effects. And if a doctor doesn't ask about what drugs you take when writing a prescription, that's a sign you should change doctors.
5. Your Doctor Can't Admit What He Or She Doesn't Know
No one knows everything. That goes for doctors, too. But sometimes a doctor is unable to admit what he or she doesn’t know. This is a problem because they'll double down on their ignorance instead of being open to learning.
That behavior can lead to some of the other warning signs we've already described. If you're having a symptom that doesn't fit into his or her theory of what's wrong, then your doctor might not listen to you. If you ask a question about something he or she doesn’t know about, it might get dismissed instead of realizing that it requires further research.
This unwillingness to admit occasional ignorance gets even more dangerous when prescription drugs come into play. Such a doctor might prescribe unnecessarily or might not be willing to look up answers to your questions about a drug– because that would be admitting that he or she didn't know.
Pursuing better health is an educational journey — find a doctor who wants to take that journey with you.
If your doctor doesn't know the answer to your questions they should be comfortable saying so and either explaining why there isn't a clear answer or looking it up for you. A doctor who feels the need to pretend they know everything is too insecure to provide you with honest, grounded, and safe guidance.
What This Means To You
Try to find your ideal doctor. It may feel overwhelming to switch medical providers, but the results of improved care are worth it. Any doctor who won't consider the approach you want to take– such as diet-exercise-and-lifestyle interventions like the Osteoporosis Reversal Program— is refusing to consider your needs and desires. That's an immediate disqualifier.
Better care leads to better health outcomes, less stress, and getting to lead the life you want to live and enjoy. You should consider visiting your doctor as a chance to be supported by a knowledgeable and caring ally in the fight to build strong bones and live a long, healthy life.