Got a health concern that you’ve been meaning to get checked out, but keep putting it off? Many of us are guilty of delaying a trip to the doctors, but this can have harmful effects. By not getting the treatment you may need now, you could be making your health problem worse – what could be a mild issue could quickly turn into something serious.
There are different reasons as to why many of us don’t visit the doctors. Here are some of the common reasons people skip a visit and why you should stop using them as excuses.
Not enough time
A big reason many of us don’t visit the doctor is because we don’t have the time to. Most regular doctors’ clinics are only open 8 until 6 on weekdays, which is when most of us are working or commuting. Even for those of us that don’t work regular hours, other responsibilities such as cleaning and looking after children can take priority.
On top of this getting an appointment is harder than ever. Unless you’re able to visit as the clinic opens, you may have to spend half an hour on the phone in the morning just to book an appointment. Some people feel that this is too much stress on top of their morning routine and so don’t bother.
Our health should be something that we don’t mind prioritising time for. Most employers are sympathetic of those that need to take leave to visit the doctor. If you’ve got kids to look after meanwhile, you may be able to take them to your appointment with you.
There are also a growing number of services that can allow people to seek medical help in their own time. It’s possible to treat some common conditions online without having to visit a doctor – you can get an online assessment and have the medication to delivered to you. There are also out of hours services available for those that need a physical check-up but can’t make regular weekday openings. Some people don’t realise these services exist when they could be the simple solution.
There are others that don’t visit the doctors because they’re scared to. This fear can be for a variety of reasons – it could be a fear of needles, a fear of exposure to germs in the waiting room, a fear of being poked somewhere or perhaps even a fear of finding out the truth about their diagnosis.
In serious cases, it could be worth seeking therapy for such a phobia, especially if you know that a visit to the doctors is what you need. Alternatively, you could try taking someone to support you – make sure that they’re someone that’s able to talk you round in case you change your mind last minute. Most fears are totally irrational, although often other people are needed to remind us of this.
Some people also put off going to the doctors because they’re embarrassed of a condition.
In such situations, it’s important to remember that doctors may be strangers, but they’re there to give advice on all manner of health problems. It’s likely they’ve encountered your condition before. They’re not going to laugh at you and they’re not going to tell others about you – to do so would be a breach of professionalism. Instead, they’re likely to see it as a genuine concern that they can help you with.
Some people may feel more comfortable asking to see a doctor of the same sex. Most clinics are able to accommodate for this if you ask.
No trust in doctors
Some people have a deep mistrust in doctors. This can stem from being misdiagnosed in the past or from getting treated poorly. Such people may prefer to diagnose themselves online and may even seek out alternative non-medically approved treatments in preference.
In such situations, it’s important to realise that you may have just had a bad experience – if all doctors were incompetent, no-one would ever get treated for anything. If you don’t trust your doctor or your local surgery, try visiting another one. If it’s a mistrust in the NHS in general, you could even consider going private. The important thing to remember is that there are amazing doctors out there and by refusing to acknowledge this, you could be putting your health in danger.
This is a collaborative post.