Talk Therapy: the Best Doctors Listen to their Patients

Doctors Listen to their Patients

There are many types of doctors out there, and you may identify a few. You have the genius doctor with a serious look or the nonchalant type who always gets away with it. You can also have the unfriendly doctor who can be very unpleasant, or those you consider a part of your family and feel happy to talk with.

Many doctors believe that curing the patient is about figuring out what he has and prescribing the right medications. But sometimes, and for some patients, that perfect formula does not work, and the personality of your doctor has much to do with the process of healing. Hint: Humility helps : )

Not the typical patient

When we ask patients how do they feel in the doctor’s office, many of them would say nervous or anxious. Even talkative patients may feel somewhat shy, especially if they have no idea what’s going on in their bodies. Conversely, other people would go the opposite way and can´t stop talking about themselves, even during physical exam.

Dealing with each personality is a part of being a doctor, and even if it sounds strange, it is also very important to help patients. Some patients are very anxious and worried, they feel a lot of stress and become unable to release that tension until it translates into a medical problem. Their defenses go down, the nervous system causes extra symptoms, and feeling ill only adds up to the problem.

Only talking to the doctor and interacting with somebody can help these patients cope with the problem. Yes, visiting a doctor’s office can be a healing experience, and the process sometimes starts before shutting the door behind you. The mind plays an important role in recovering from disease, and that’s a fact widely recognized by doctors, known by researchers as the placebo effect.

The placebo effect

You have probably heard about placebo. It is also known as a sugar pill, but it basically has no active compound. It is useful for researches when patients are split into two groups, one of them receiving the treatment under research, and the other receiving sugar pills.

Initially, one would think that placebo pills do nothing at all, but that’s not exactly the case. They do have an effect on some patients, even if they are not the majority. But that only accounts for the potential of the mind to influence our state of health.

The placebo effect is not only used as a pill. Massage therapists, acupuncture therapists and even surgeons can perform a type of placebo procedure respectively known as sham massage, sham acupuncture, and sham surgery. These procedures have the same steps and rituals but do not trigger the same points and omits therapeutic steps. But impressively, they can actually have a positive effect in patients.

We still don’t know the exact mechanisms of placebo effect, but the aim is clear. There is much more than drugs in medicine, and the mindset has a lot to do with healing and feeling better. In some cases, the best thing to improve the symptoms of patients is not prescribing pills but listening to them and making them feel their problems are being properly addressed.

Interact with Your Doctor – or Find a New One

Another important term for researchers in medicine is double-blinding. In the field of investigation, double-blinding a clinical trial is blindly assigning placebo and active treatment to patients. Neither patients nor doctors know who is receiving placebo and who is receiving active treatment. Investigators know that, if doctors are aware of who is receiving placebo, they may start interacting differently with patients, and the results would be biased.

So, at the end of the day, the placebo effect and the interaction with your doctor can actually change the course of the disease, or at least help you improving the most annoying symptoms.

Doctors who do not communicate properly with patients run the risk of noncompliance with the treatment. They are not addressing our emotions, which make up a fundamental part of us as humans. So, the best doctor is not one that gives you appropriate medications and is smart enough to diagnose properly. A really good doctor is one that makes you feel comfortable, listens to your concerns, addresses your problems with attention to detail, and goes beyond your health to worry about you as an individual as well.


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