How Can I Talk To My Doctor?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

…about long term mental problems I’ve had. When I was a child my mother always spoke for me when we went to the doctor’s and this continued until I was 18. I never wanted her to but she has a very controlling personality. She told the doctor’s that I was ADD and had me put on adderall. I was also on Zoloft and sleep medications growing up and was had suicidal thoughts and a tendency to harm myself. Any time I had to go to the doctor she linked all my problems to my ADD. I moved out on my 18th birthday and quit taking Adderall because I don’t think I have ADD, I honestly think I’m bipolar. It’s bad enough that I know I need to speak to a doctor and I keep telling myself I’m going to but I cannot talk to a doctor about how I feel. I have severe anxiety when I speak to any doctor because I am afraid they won’t believe me or they will say that I’m making it up because I have ADD and people with ADD like atention. My mom still to this day tells me things like that. I am 28 weeks pregnant and I want to talk to a doctor and get help so I can be a good mom but I don’t know how.

A. You are an adult. You are free to do what is best for you and your unborn child. You no longer have to follow your mother’s orders. She is incorrect in her statement that individuals with attention deficit disorder desire attention. She was in essence saying that individuals pretend to have a mental health disorder in order to receive attention. There is no research to support that assertion.

It is good that you want to talk to your doctor about your concerns and symptoms. This is exactly what you should be doing. There’s nothing wrong with doing this and it’s a sign that you are thinking in a psychologically healthy manner. In fact, if you kept this information from your doctor you would be doing yourself and your unborn child a major disservice. Here’s what I would recommend. Prepare for your next appointment. Make a list of symptoms and concerns that you want to discuss with your doctor. Also include a list of questions you have for your doctor. Be as detailed as possible with your list. The more information you report to your physician the better he or she will be able to assist you.

At the appointment, tell your doctor about your list. If you feel uncomfortable describing your list or its details, hand the information to your doctor. He or she can read what you have written. It is important to be honest and patient. Ask for clarification when necessary. The more active you are with this process the better. Here’s a link to an article that describes more tips for communicating with your doctor. I hope this helps. Please take care.

Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Dec 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). How Can I Talk To My Doctor?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/12/30/how-can-i-talk-to-my-doctor/