Let’s say you’ve been having a recurring back pain for months. You finally decide to go to the doctor to figure out what’s going on. During your appointment, however, it feels like your doctor is totally brushing off your concerns and he tells you you’d probably feel better if you ate better and exercised more. You really feel like something is wrong, but you think to yourself, he’s the one who went to medical school, I’m probably just a hypochondriac. A few months later, the pain hasn’t subsided, so you go to another doctor, who listens to your concerns, takes the time to properly diagnose what’s wrong and prescribes a course of treatment.
So, what happened with that first doctor? You might’ve experienced medical gaslighting, a term for when a medical professional dismisses or minimizes their patient’s concerns. Read on for more about this disturbing phenomenon and how patients can learn to better advocate for themselves.