Do or Don’t: 5 Powerful Signs You Need To Break Up With Your Doctor

Just like breaking up with your significant other can be hard to do, so can breaking up with your doctor.

After all, he or she may have been with you from the beginning. Back when you were confused and scared, without a clue about what was going on with your body. All you knew was that it was doing some weird shit and you wanted it to stop!

Or maybe your doctor was referred to you by a friend or family member, and you feel obligated to stay with them. Or perhaps you believe that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

Whatever your hesitation is, here are 5 reasons when you should walk away and find a new doctor:

1. When your thoughts and research are ignored

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Picture this: You get to your appointment all excited. You found some promising research about a new drug, or lifestyle changes, or something else about the disease that might help you. And you can’t wait to talk to your doctor about what this might mean for your future!

But when you happily talk to your doctor, he doesn’t echo your enthusiasm. Instead, he brushes the research aside as “too new” and “untested.” And the lifestyle changes? Psh. He’s got a drug for that.

While all new research should be viewed with a critical eye and not just blindly accepted as fact, there’s a way to have a discussion. You should feel comfortable bringing new ideas up to your doctor, not ashamed. And if your doctor doesn’t agree, he should never make you feel stupid.

2. When you want to do more with your treatment

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Have you ever heard the words “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more I can do for you”? Or how about “I’m sorry, but that’s our only option”?

No other words can deflate the optimism of a person with a chronic illness quite like those. What do you mean, that’s it?! There are always options. And yes, with some rare diseases, there unfortunately aren’t many. But that doesn’t mean you stop looking and you stop trying. Maybe you have exhausted all your current options, but you deserve a doctor who will say, “Ok, this is what we can do for now. But don’t worry. We’ll find something else.”

You need a supporter, a partner. Someone who will work with you. Not someone who will check off boxes on the protocol list and call it quits.

3. When you want a second opinion

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Many of us are taught that “doctors know best.” And let’s be real, doctors know a lot! But doctors are not infallible. That’s why it never hurts to get a second opinion. At the very least, you get confirmation that what your first doctor is doing is correct. And you never know–that other opinion might be the truth, or maybe it’ll just align better with what you want out of your life and treatment.

 4. When the office staff doesn’t respect you

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It seems kinda obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people put up with poor staff. A visit to a doctor is made up of more than just the doctor. It involves the receptionists who schedule your appointments; the nurses and medical assistants who take your vitals and set you at ease; the phlebotomist who can make your day with an easy blood draw; and the biller who helps you through the nightmare of insurance.

When you have a chronic illness, stress is one of the worst things for you. You want your visit to be as smooth and stress-free as possible. Especially because you’re probably there a lot. I know I am, and I know I appreciate it when the staff makes an extra effort, whether I’m there for a full appointment or just routine blood work.

 5. When your gut tells you something’s not right

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Sometimes, you just can’t put your finger on what’s wrong. Maybe your doctor is pretty ok. She listens to you and works with you on your treatment, but for some reason, something feels off. Maybe you feel like you can’t speak honestly with her. Maybe you feel like there’s something missing. Maybe it’s a case of doctor FOMO.

Whatever it is, trust your gut. After all, I think the cardinal rule of living with a chronic illness is “listen to your body.” If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.


So trust yourself. Try another doctor, get a second opinion. Perhaps you’ll realize that what you had all along was what you needed. Or perhaps you’ll find the doctor you’ve been waiting for.

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