Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Doctor Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are

So my first interaction with the medical system here didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I went in this morning to get my prescriptions here, because they don't transfer when you move countries. And in all fairness, I did get them written for me, at least enough to cover this month. But not without a long lecture about how no one should be on depression medication long term, from a man who 1. had only met me about three minutes earlier; 2. isn't a specialist in mental health; 3. hasn't reviewed any of the records from my previous doctor; 4. has no idea what it's been like to live with me these past few months while I've been freaking out because I have literally changed every single thing about my life; 5. has no idea what I'm like without medication. He said, with no basis whatsoever, that I needed to look into some alternatives - alternatives he didn't bother to specify or ask me whether I was already doing, but which I assume would include the exercise I already take four or five times a week, the meditation I do,  and the friends I turn to when I need to talk. Apart from not eating a healthy diet, which is never going to happen because, let's face it, Doritos are DELICIOUS while green vegetables taste like pee, I'm doing all the things you're supposed to do. Oh except seeing a psychiatrist here, but when I asked him for a referral, he told me that psychiatrists in this country don't treat "minor problems" and it's really not for me unless I'm on an anti-psychotic (he did eventually give me a phone number).

Is that what doctors are like here, or is this guy just a judgemental ass who thinks he knows everything because it says "Dr." in front of his name? Should I just make sure I always see another doctor from that practice? It's much easier to get the healthcare you need when you don't have a completely adversarial relationship with your doctor.

10 comments:

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Get a different doctor :-(

amberance said...

Yeah. I guess next time I call for an appointment I'll just ask for anyone but that guy :(

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Doctors can be very hit and miss in Ireland, and I imagine it's similar in the UK. When you find a good one, stick with them. Until then, feel free to shop around, because there's no way to tell in advance which ones will actually listen to you and treat you, and which ones will just want to force their opinions on you.

Wayofthebob said...

Since I've moved back from the UK I've found the GP's at my surgery to very inconsistent with one in particular just not listening.

You could ask for a referral to counselling which seems to be the preferred (probably because it's cheaper) starting point for psychiatric help.

Sophie said...

yes, your local area should have some kind of access to psychotherapy type service which your GP will be able to refer you to. In the UK you would probably not see an actual psychiatrist unless you needed hospital treatment. You would expect to be referred to a psychologist or psychotherapist, and if you need medication such as antidepressants you would get them from your GP, normally, even if you are also getting counselling or therapy like CBT from the NHS at the same time.

it's weird to us that Americans seem to go straight to specialists - just a different system I know. but it seems very weird to us to hear Americans talk about going to gynaecologists or paediatricians for check ups. we would only expect to see someone with a title like that if there was an actual problem. so I would not worry about a refusal to refer you to an actual psychiatrist, that I would expect to only happen if you need some kind of acute treatment. But you can insist on being referred for counselling and yeah, if this doctor won't, then ask to see another one.

S said...

When I was 22 and so depressed I was seriously contemplating suicide, I worked up the courage to go to my GP and ask for help. He said I had a job and friends so I had no reason to be depressed. Maybe you have that arsehole as your new GP. Either way, avoid him like the plague and ask for someone else next time.

ParkViewPrincess said...

Hell, I'm sorry you've had a shit experience with your doctor. He sounds like a right twat. They are not all such utter wankers but unfortunately it sounds like you've wound up with a dud. Get a second opinion from a different GP and bravo to you for seeking help and advice in the first place. I think the NHS has a 'patient review' system in place for most areas now. Is it worth looking on the NHS website for recommendations of other GPs?

Stay safe, stay well and stay strong. xxx

m4dswine said...

I second getting a different doctor, like everywhere some are better than others. Unfortunately you might find yourself bound by location rules about which surgery you use, but try all the Drs until you find one you like.
If you need gyne check ups, I heartily recommend the Family Planning Service, still an NHS service but specialist and its always nice to have a specialist peering into your abyss.

Anonymous said...

Try to see a different doc. They're not all idiots, took me 5 or 6 tries to find one I liked, and she was very up-front about not being an expert on mental health (despite being willing to listen) so she sent me to a psychiatrist. Whole process (including going back to the US to get a script for wellbutrin which is only available as a smoking cessation aid here) took about 4 months but the GP is happy to prescribe the right meds for me now. Still beats being uninsured in the US by a mile. Good luck!

amberance said...

Anon - That's exactly what I'm on. I did get him to prescribe it in the end (a month's worth anyway), but I couldn't get the extended release pills here, so I'll have to take it twice a day now.