Although general awareness of substance use disorders is increasing and the stigma is decreasing in the medical community, it can sometimes be difficult to get medical care when using substances such as alcohol or drugs. It is known that doctors sometimes discriminate against patients who use substances, those who have used substances in the past, or people who have other addictions.If youThis discrimination can occur in a number of ways.
Accessing a doctor can be difficult. Many people who use substances have to apply to a doctor’s office to become patients and then never hear from them. Others may see a doctor but find that if they disclose their substance use history, they will not be able to get prescriptions for any medication they need or be denied necessary treatment, even for conditions unrelated to their substance use appear to stand unless you commit to “getting clean and sober” first.
Even if you are able to see a doctor to treat you, visiting your doctor can sometimes be a disruptive and even traumatic experience. The doctor might ask why you started using substances – a much longer story than you could fit in 10 minutes, and maybe one you don’t want to tell. You may feel pressure from your doctor to stop using the substance as this is often something your doctor will be concerned about. You may ask if you are thinking of using it again once you become abstinent. For some people with a history of substance use, this may be enough to deter them from seeing their doctor.
Why Do Doctors Discriminate Addicted Patients?
Discrimination against patients has been going on in healthcare for decades. The more time and effort a patient takes, the more likely he or she will be discriminated against. The more often the doctor is asked to do something he may not be comfortable with, the more likely the patient will be discriminated against.
This is not an excuse, and it does not indicate that these practices are okay. As you better understand your doctor’s point of view, you may be able to understand better how to get what you need.
With the current health care system set up, there are many instances where doctors and health care providers are not paid to spend more time with you. They will get the same amount of money whether they spend five minutes with you or an hour with you. Regardless of whether you have public or private insurance, each year the providers negotiate how much to get paid for each service they provide. And historically, that payment amount has decreased in recent years.
Think of it this way: In your job, you keep doing the work you are supposed to do. You continue to work all the hours you are supposed to work, but your boss decides to pay you less this year than last year, less than last year, and so on. Is that right or fair? No, but it’s a reality for doctors.
If you are self-employed, you know that you also have to pay rent, pay your employees (including health insurance), and pay for all materials used to provide the services you offer – but you get paid less than you were paid before . This is what doctors face.
The solution? You still need the income you received before, possibly more, as the cost usually goes up. The only way to make up the difference is to see more patients each day. To see more patients, you have less time with each patient. When you have less time, you need to review which patients are being admitted too much time. This is why it is so difficult for patients who have difficulty with their medical care to see a doctor. Ironically, healthy people have easier access to health care. While this is neither right nor fair, our American health system works and, to some extent, so does health systems in other countries.
You might think it doesn’t matter – maybe you can’t or don’t want to work and you can’t relate to it. Your doctor seems rich and successful compared to you. But they may have real concerns as to whether they can continue their practice. It takes a lot of time and money to qualify, set up and run a practice, pay for the building and staff, and they have to see lots of patients to make it work.
Discrimination related to pain medication
There is also a particular kind of discrimination against people who need pain medication, especially people who seem to need pain medication.If youThere are federal and state laws that override what a doctor might want to provide versus what is considered legal. A doctor treating pain sufferers with medication can too easily fall into that gray area – and they could be arrested before anyone asks for explanations.
Doctors who prescribe too much, which means they prescribe more pain medication than they should (which doesn’t always make sense) according to federal standards, lose their license. Even if they don’t lose their license, any kind of interruption in their practice can cause problems, not just for that doctor and his staff, but for all of his patients. As a result, most doctors will simply refuse to see patients they don’t know and request the pain medication instead of risking everything else.
Another reason doctors discriminate against patients who request pain medication is because of the serious concern that these drugs are either being overused by the patient or sold to someone else who could potentially be injured or even killed. In the past few decades, more and more people have developed addictions and other problems related to prescribed pain medication, and more people are dying from overdoses from taking too much of these drugs than ever before.
Difficulties in the therapeutic relationship
Doctors also have a therapeutic relationship with their patients. For the relationship to be mutually beneficial and for the doctor to be able to help the patient, there must be mutual trust. Many doctors feel incapable of helping people with addictions, and some have actually been harmed by people with addictions themselves.If youIf you
While no one should discriminate on the basis of individual incidents, people with addiction have been abusive and even violent in some situations towards doctors or their staff. They can lie about the severity of their addiction or other symptoms, making it difficult for the doctor to help them properly. Addicted patients can sometimes resort to manipulative behavior, e.g. Such as double-treating, illicit drug sales, lying about their symptoms to get more prescription drugs, and theft of medical supplies and personal items from staff and other patients.
While this may not be your behavior and there may not be any circumstances in which you would do these things, each time it reinforces the stereotype that people with addictions or the substances are doing all of these things. When doctors feel that the addict doesn’t really want their help to stop, but just takes advantage of it, admitting patients using substances can be more trouble than it’s worth. Until people who use substances are able to change their untrustworthy image, this discrimination is likely to continue.
What to do if you need to see your doctor
The key to overcoming the stigma faced by people who use substances and people with addiction lies in exception to the stereotype. Show respect for your doctor and his staff. This means taking the time to make sure you look clean and tidy, that you are listening before speaking, and that you are speaking in relation to the staff and doctors.
Although the attitude of the doctor or staff may make you frustrated or even offended, be careful not to be abusive or even sarcastic when you speak. Substance use can impair people’s self-control, but this is when it is really worth the effort. Remember, you are the expert on your personal experiences, but the doctor is the expert on what can help you get well.
If your visit to the doctor is not directly related to your substance use and he or she does not ask about your substance use history, it may not be necessary to discuss it with him or her. Often times, however, your substance use history is important. So make sure to let them know when asked and where you are right now in a process of considering treatment.
Many doctors gravitate towards non-drug treatments for a variety of conditions, both because of problems people develop from taking medications – including side effects and addiction – and because other treatments may be more sustainable and healthier choices in the longer term. So don’t take it personally if your doctor suggests a non-drug approach to treating your condition and try to be fair instead of immediately deciding it doesn’t work.
If you have chronic pain with a history of substance use or addiction, understand that your doctor may need to investigate some alternative treatments that do not put you at risk of relapse. Try to stay open and realize that chronic pain is difficult but not impossible to treat without medication. In some cases, taking a set dose of methadone can be a way to relieve pain and prevent relapse to other opioids.If youIn other cases, making behavior changes and using alternative treatments may be effective enough, such as: B. Mindfulness based stress reduction. These approaches don’t block pain in the same way that drugs do, but they do not cause harm. Nobody can avoid pain completely, and a non-drug approach can make life tolerable without addiction.