Why We Put Off Going To The Doctor – And Why We Shouldn’t

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Our health is the single most important priority any one of us can have. If you’re about to disagree with that point, stop for a moment. Your kids? Yes, they’re important, of course, but you can’t look after them if you’re not healthy enough. Your job? Yes, it matters – but again, the eventual result of ignoring health issues will be that you can’t do that job any longer. We could go on, but all of the responses look somewhat similar anyway – without your health, nothing else can really function the way it should. 

Which is why it is often hard to understand why people tend not to seek medical help when they are obviously not 100%. Of course, there are concerns, not least when it comes to cost, and we’re not about to diminish the seriousness of that worry. There are other reasons too, and we’re going to look at what some of those reasons are, and make counter-points to them, in order to get the right answers about how to handle your health concerns.

I just don’t have the time to see a doctor right now

We’ve all said this once or twice: going to the doctor means taking a day off work, either finding childcare or bringing the kids with you, waiting around and reshuffling your whole day around an appointment. But here’s the thing: most health issues will either linger or get worse without being addressed, so you’re looking at having to deal with all those problems sooner or later anyway. Now, there is the option of staying at home, or taking a quiet moment at work and getting virtual healthcare, where you can discuss your concerns and potentially get a prescription or a referral that can be the answer to your problem. That’s one way of making time to get the care you need.

I have had this issue before – it goes away after a while

This may be the case. And we don’t want to catastrophize, most of us have occasional symptoms that come and go, and it’s fine. But if you were to look at the symptoms of pretty much any more serious health issue, one word that they tend to have in there somewhere is “recurrent”. You get pain, your body fights back, you forget about it, and then it all starts again. If you have an issue that keeps coming back, that’s all the more reason you need to see someone. Most of the time, you will basically be reassured that there is no reason to worry. It’s good to get that reassurance, and in the scenario where it is actually serious, it’s all the more important it gets discovered now, not later.

I can’t afford to see a doctor

It’s appalling that some people are left to deal with health issues on their own because they are uninsured or underinsured; it just shouldn’t happen. If you can’t afford insurance or are struggling with the co-pay, there are usually alternatives. Community health centers and urgent care are two options, and government assistance may be available. If you have a one-off issue, then telehealth can be a solution. Ask about charitable foundations, too – sometimes there will be charitable assistance for people in your situation. In the event that you do need to take on debt for long-term medical treatment, the only thing to say is that you shouldn’t have to – but if it’s the only option, debt is better than the alternative.

I’m scared of what I might find out

We get it. Ignorance can be bliss, or at least less nerve-wracking than facing something head-on. But it is never the answer. If you feel there may be something scary about what’s ailing you, it is even more important to get it seen to. There are two ways this can go. One, it’s nothing serious and you can get on with life, maybe with the help of a prescription. Two, it is something serious. In the latter case, any doctor will tell you that early detection is of huge importance to the successful treatment of any major health condition. It’s natural to be concerned about what a doctor might tell you; but there is no circumstance in which it is better not to know.

There are many reasons to let a health issue go or leave it for later, but there is one reason, that outranks them all, that you should see a doctor when you can: and that’s the original point we made right back at the start. Your health is more important than anything else, and it is beyond vital that you look for assistance the moment you suspect it will be necessary.

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