An alarming new study has discovered many people who have suffered emotional trauma are less likely to provide their doctors with vital information pertaining to their health. Researchers say the people who tend to withhold this information tend to suffer from depression, domestic violence and even suicidal thoughts.
The team analysed the responses from two online 2015 national surveys, which included close to 4,500 people. The team found nearly 70 per cent of respondents said they avoided revealing this information out of fear of being judged and feeling embarrassed. Many also said they did not want the information they disclosed to show up on their medical record. However, keeping important vital medical information from doctors can prevent patients from receiving treatment that can be potentially life-saving.
“Some of the reasons that individuals may withhold information include not feeling a strong alliance with their health professional, uncertainty about how the information will be handled by the professional, fearing potential consequences of revealing information of this nature, and cultural stigmas regarding behavioural health concerns and victimization,” Scott Bea, PsyD, of the department of psychiatry and psychology at Cleveland Clinic who was not part of the research, told a news portal.
Oftentimes, people in a vulnerable state don't feel they can trust their doctors with important concerns that might be very personal. “Teaching physicians how to make these sensitive inquiries in a caring and non-perfunctory manner is very important,” Bea told a news portal. Adding, “At the same time the current climate of healthcare that pushes physicians to see high volumes of patients can be a deterrent to having physicians utilize these empathic skills that produce solid alliances and accurate self-disclosure."
Experts urge people to inform their doctors of serious medical concerns. They also have other options if they need to seek counsel or medical assistance. Bea told a news portal many people turn to “a trusted friend, partner, or confidant (when) self-disclosure to a physician may be challenging.” Adding, “Additionally, they may seek out a behavioural health professional to help them explore ways in which they might be able to offer these communications with less shame, guilt, or fear of negative consequences."
The new study's findings were originally published in JAMA Network Open.
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