Medical gaslighting is a common phenomenon in which a doctor or hospital misleads a patient, especially women, into believing that they are not ill, or that the illness is more psychological than it actually is. It can come in many forms, but usually involves doctors giving misleading information about tests and diagnoses that may lead to mistreatments or delayed diagnosis for months or even years. This causes unnecessary suffering for patients and wastes clinical resources, so we need to understand what medical gaslighting is and the ways to avoid it happening again in the future.
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that makes you question your own sanity. It’s a powerful form of emotional abuse where the victim is made to feel as if they are going insane, and that their abuser is the only person who can help them. Gaslighting can happen in romantic relationships, in families, and even at work.
What is medical gaslighting?
Medical gaslighting can be defined as a form of gaslighting that happens in the health care community. It involves doctors and nurses who use their power to manipulate patients with mental health and make them believe they are not ill. This can happen in many ways, including:
- telling a patient that their symptoms are not real or not related to their illness;
- telling them they must have an underlying condition instead;
- telling them that they are being over-dramatic or making it up;
- refusing to prescribe medication or force them to take medication even when there is no evidence for it working;
ordering tests or treatments without explaining why it’s necessary; and/or refusing to address their concerns about issues such as quality of life or pain management.
The term “medical gaslighting” comes from an old Broadway play called Gas Light where it was originally used as a term referring to the manipulation of others into believing that something was happening when it wasn’t really happening at all (a la Psycho).
Who is most affected by medical gaslighting?
It’s important to understand who might be affected by medical gaslighting. While it can happen with any patient, some people are more susceptible than others.
According to the New York Times, Women are mostly affected by medical gaslighting as they are often ignored by doctors. In most cases, doctors dismissed or ignore the actual symptoms of women and diagnose with a predetermined assumption of a mental disorder or a psychological issue. This has made a great impact to cure women’s health related issues.
A recent study shows that during the Covid-19 Pandemic, women are so traumatized by the wrong diagnosis, that most of the time they did not disclose their actual health issues to doctors fearing unwanted mental and psychological treatment.
It is also reported that people of black color also go through the medical gaslighting issue as they also received lower clinical care and ignorance from doctors or health care professionals. Sometimes this behavior is intentional; other times, it’s simply negligence on behalf of the healthcare providers who work at that facility.
The bad effect of medical gaslighting
The effect of medical gaslighting is often the loss of trust in your doctor, which can lead to health problems.
In many cases, women or black patients (due to racism) faced longer or slower treatments even for some serious health issues like cancer, kidney failure, heart disease, or brain injury. that broke the trust in doctors.
If you start to doubt your own experience and instincts, this will impact the way you make decisions about wellness. For example, if you think that something isn’t normal but don’t want to discuss it with your doctor because they might disagree with actual problems going on in your body, then this could have an impact on their ability to diagnose the problem or even treat whatever is causing the issue.
To diagnose medical gaslighting, the person being gaslighted will experience a persistent pattern of mental abuse. They may feel they are going crazy or that they are being irrational. The abuser can be any healthcare professional, including physicians, dentists, and nurses.
This type of abuse is different than other forms of domestic violence because it also involves health professionals who use their knowledge and authority to control someone else’s sense of reality. In fact, the victim may not even realize how serious problems are happening to them until later when they realize that their experiences weren’t normal or expected behavior from these individuals in the clinical field.
How should we recover from it?
If you’ve been gaslighted by your doctor, you may be feeling confused and unsure of yourself. But don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem like they’re going to annoy or frustrate the health care professional. You have every right to ensure that your health is being taken care of properly, which means having a conversation about actual problems going on with your body and the way it’s supposed to feel.
If the answers aren’t satisfactory—or if no answer seems forthcoming at all—that’s okay! Ask for help or advice from other people who work in the same field as your doctor. You might find that another member of staff has a different perspective on actual problems happening with your body; this could shed some light on whether there are any inconsistencies happening between them and their peers.
If none of these options work out for you, seek out another opinion from someone else entirely: contact another medical professional who specializes in whatever illness/condition/infection has been diagnosed by doctors already treating you (or even an entirely separate profession altogether).
It can be scary at first when seeking outside help through channels like Google searches or online forums about medicine where strangers post about their experiences with similar conditions but plenty end up being helpful resources because others share similar stories and offer encouragement along with advice on treatments worth trying next time around.
How to remove it from Society?
Well, to wipe it off from the roots, we need to do some basic things.
- We, as a parent, should raise our kids completely free of gender biases. If we quit gender-biased raising, all women will receive proper treatment according to their symptoms.
- We need to make available more medical research institutes or schools to have thorough knowledge about the health conditions of women. This will help medical professionals and doctors to have prior knowledge about all medical complications of women. As result, women patients will get better, more accurate, and faster treatments.
- We also should raise our kids free from any kind of racism or human color classification. This will not only help to build better medical professional and unbiased treatments but also helps us to build a better world for humanity.
Medical gaslighting is an insidious form of abuse that can have devastating impacts on the health and well-being of patients. It should not be taken lightly, nor should it be ignored by medical professionals. We need to be more aware of the signs and symptoms so we can identify them early on before they become a problem for too many people. If you’re experiencing this type of treatment from your doctor or other healthcare providers, I encourage you to speak up about actual problems going on in your life – whether it’s related directly or indirectly! Being heard by others who care about us will help us regain control over our lives again so we don’t feel like victims anymore.
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