August 29, 2022 – My nurse practitioner called me prior to my virtual consultation with my doctor with some quick questions. “Have you felt depressed lately? “ No, I said confidently, though I’ve been dealing with this parenting–two kids–young–through–pandemic something. “amazing! This is what we love to hear! She replied.
In that moment I felt proud – She is very pleased with me! But why were you so quick to tell such a bald-faced lie?
The case for lying about our health runs deep. Truth be told – no pun intended! Medical and health lies take many forms and have different motives and consequences.
Fibonacci Harmless or Serious Problem?
Many of us say we hide things during medical appointments Angie VagerlinPh.D., professor of population health sciences at the University of Utah.
“Through our research, we know that people don’t tell their doctors the truth,” she says. Wagerlin and colleagues have published two research papers on this phenomenon, with one more publication on our COVID fibres.
One study, co-authored by Fagerlin and published in JAMA Network is open In 2018, they analyzed survey responses from more than 4,500 adults in the United States and their honesty regarding common questions about their health habits, medical treatments, and experiences with their providers.
Most commonly, people have admitted lying to their provider when they disagree with their treatment recommendations or even when they don’t understand what the doctor said in the first place.
other reasons? They weren’t taking the prescriptions as directed, they didn’t Playing sportseating an unhealthy diet, or taking a prescription from someone else.
So why don’t people feel fully acknowledged?
“The most common first response from 82% of patients is that they don’t want to be judged or lectured about their behavior,” Wagerlin says. Furthermore, 76% said they did not want to know that what they were doing was harmful, while 61% said they were embarrassed. Some patients even said they also don’t want to be difficult or take longer than the doctor.
Another study from Wagerlin and colleagues, Published in 2019Detection of severe and sometimes life-threatening challenges, such as depressionAnd the suicidal Orientation, assault and sexual assault. A quarter did not tell their caregiver largely because of embarrassment, fear of being judged, unwillingness to pursue help (eg, see a therapist), trying to avoid including it in their medical record, or assuming the provider could not help .
But this is illogical – and counterproductive: we actively seek medical help and then actively prevent our doctors from providing appropriate and comprehensive care because we are concerned about the way we are viewed.
Wagerlin agrees that it may be mind-boggling, but it’s common.
“People tend to respect their providers and want them to think well of them. They don’t want to do anything to damage that relationship or perception,” she says.
Meanwhile, your doctor won’t know to change your medications if you’re having problems, won’t know how to look for drug interactions if you’re taking a prescription from someone else, or won’t be able to refer you to Psychological health Wagerlin says he’s a pro if they don’t know you’re struggling.
It’s not like we don’t Wants to be honest. Quite the opposite. Research shows that people are willing to be open and honest, especially about their mental health, when they think they are talking to an online bot run by a computer, according to previous research in Computer in human behavior.
People say, “People shared more about their symptoms with the computer when they thought no human was involved than when they thought they were talking to someone on technology,” Jill LucasPh.D., research assistant professor at the University of Southern California.
Again, Lucas says, it’s the fear of stigmatization or that the doctor will think of you negatively that fuels the lies. The computer won’t judge you, and we find that much more comfortable than having a face-to-face encounter with someone who might.
There is a lie… then there is He lies
Sometimes lies go over the edge. These are the reports we often hear of people making up a cancer diagnosis, checking into hospitals more frequently, or pitting themselves on medical problems. Factitious Disorder (once called Munchausen syndrome) he is mental illness says Mark Feldman, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama and author of Dying to Be Ill.
About 1% of patients admitted to public hospitals fake their symptoms, Feldman says, making them uncommon but not rare. However, most in this group are those who have stable jobs and relationships with loved ones and lie that way sporadically “when they can’t handle it.” Stress in their lives and they need empathy.”
Having a top-ranking healthcare professional who sticks to every word is satisfying and brings you a hint of belonging. And in general, doctors are not taught to question patients, he says. Sometimes this sympathy can be obtained from family, friends, or fellow community members, and it can be satisfying enough that they don’t have to look for a doctor at all.
Few with factitious disorder chronically form this web of lies, but some do, and weaving medical lies becomes a way of life.
“There are different motives, but in my experience, the quest for nurture is number one. Others feel as though they have no control over their lives, and manipulating professionals allows them to feel in control,” Feldman says.
However, for some, it is an underlying personality disorder that leads to chronic deception. But for others, it’s a win. Some people make big money off of their health concoctions, and face serious consequences in the bargain.
a A California woman was recently sentenced to 5 years in prison Charged with wire fraud when her false cancer diagnosis led to more than $100,000 in illicit crowdfunding donations.
And earlier this year TV show writer instinct anatomy She lost her job and her reputation when her entire medical history – from a rare form of bone cancer to get miscarriage during submission Chemotherapy – An error has been detected. She created it all to fuel her writing career for the show and for national magazines.
For those who need real mental health care, help with factitious disorder is multi-layered and complex, and there is a shortage of providers with this kind of expertise, Feldman says. Limiting strategies (including distraction when one has the urge to go to the hospital, for example) is one way mental health experts treat the condition, and simply talking to a therapist can help patients come to terms with the fact that their condition is psychological and energetic. Not physically.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE – NOT VIB
Part of the solution is realizing that, on some level, lying about your health gives you a psychological reward — whether you underreport your wine consumption for brownie points or indulge in empathy from your co-worker’s suggestion that you have cancer.
But is this reward worth the consequences?
It can be hard to be vulnerable when upholding the medical truth, especially in a clinical setting where the balance of power seems to be off for you. But avoiding difficult—even small—conversations and seemingly harmless lies can affect your ability to successfully treat a condition or get in the way of making changes to daily habits that can benefit your health in the long run.
The first step is knowing you can lie or not tell the whole truth.
“Our research indicates that fear of evaluation drives the choice not to open up. Awareness of that may give you the ability to make the difficult decision to share with providers,” says Lucas.
Another possibility: talk openly with your doctor about the difficulties, for example, of leading a healthy lifestyle. Most doctors will acknowledge it and sympathize with it – “Hey, I know it’s hard to exercise regularly; it’s hard for me too.” It becomes easier for patients to be honest about their habits and struggles. When a healthy lifestyle is the default, almost all of us fall short.
“It’s hard for humans to do that and admit it,” Wagerlin says. But know, “People who are medical professionals want to help you live your best and healthiest life. They can’t do that if they don’t know the whole story.”