Above I mentioned how the change in narrative around pain medications is affecting our treatment and part of what has caused this change is the drug seeker narrative.
Unfortunately, it’s true that opiods at one point were over prescribed but this was to people who had no long term need for them. They are after all addictive but what happens when you are someone who has chronic pain that is never going away?
We’ve become obsessed with weeding out the fakers, so much so that we are actually harming those who genuinely need help.
A study into hypochondria in medical students found that ‘with their incomplete medical knowledge, they may compare their own bodily symptoms with disease symptoms during the process of learning’
And there’s the rub. Doctors are taught that even they themselves will fall fowl of hypochondria due to ‘incomplete medical knowledge’ so when a patient like us walks into a clinic, having spent time researching what could possibly be the cause of our symptoms, we accidentally set of the red flags.
Having too much knowledge of your condition or possible treatments is a dangerous game. When in front of a doctor you have to feign a lack of knowledge and instead turn it into curiosity that strokes their ego.
It’s laughable that so many studies have proved that a good relationship with your doctor is so important when so many have to play this game. How many times have you had to pretend you didn’t look up or research a condition beforehand?
What gets even more baffling is the actual statistics on hypochondria. Only 5-9% of the population is affected by it. I in fact have also chosen the higher stats some say only up to 4.5%. Where as 1 in 3 suffer from a long chronic illness. Simply put there are far more genuine patients than there are hypochondriacs. To condemn people to a life without treatment for fear of drug seekers is utterly preposterous.