Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a full phone consultation or video conference is appropriate for your situation.

What to do if your doctor says it is “all in your head?”

When your Pennsylvania doctor assesses your symptoms, performs an exam and still cannot diagnose the issue, he or she may tell you that the condition is “all in your head.” Such a diagnosis can be both insulting and frustrating, and you may wonder what more you can do to receive the care and attention you need and deserve. Verywell Health advises you to keep your cool, really give the doctor’s words some thought and continue to try to seek answers from other professionals.

Before you write off your doctor’s assessment as rude and uncaring, know that your doctor may speak from a place of experience. Science shows that many physical symptoms have a cause that is rooted in the brain. For instance, stress can cause the body to break out in hives, and anxiety can cause heart palpitations. Fear may cause nausea, and embarrassment can result in profuse perspiration. Your doctor may simply want to explore and maybe rule out the possibility that your symptoms stem from a psychological condition rather than a physical one.

The publication also suggests trying to understand your doctor’s limitations. It is not possible for any physician to know every answer or to be able to diagnose every condition. Patients should not expect this of their doctors, and nor should doctors expect it of themselves. What patients should expect is that their doctors will do their best to either solve the challenge or help patients identify resources that will provide them with answers.

You should also partner with your doctor to come up with answers. Request that your doctor works through the process of differential diagnosis to determine and rule out other possible diagnoses. Do not be afraid to mention conditions with which your physician may not be familiar or that are rare.

If, after taking the above steps, you still do not have your answer, request a second opinion. Be sure to request a referral from an objective third party, and not from your normal doctor.

Finally, work with a patient advocate. Oftentimes, the best outcomes come from working with someone who has no stake in the results other than your best interests.

You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.