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Dr. Bhatia shares her mission is to raise awareness about the importance of patients being seen, heard, and helped when they turn to medical professionals.
She explains medical gaslighting boils down to being dismissed. "If you have a concern and someone says, 'That's ridiculous, or that's in your head, or that's not important,' and they dismiss it," she says, telling The Doctors this issue occurs often in medicine. Dr. Bhatia feels there are cracks in the medical system that cause some patients to not be properly be seen and heard.
The integrative medicine physician says she experienced medical gaslighting firsthand after she began dealing with health issues like joint pain, weight gain, and hair loss. She says she began to try and discover the cause of her health issues. "Unfortunately, I was gaslight the whole entire way," she explains.
Dr. Bhatia says she was told by numerous health professionals, including her primary care doctor, that it was possibly stress, a hormone imbalance, or an issue with her hair. She was told to take a variety of medications, which she did, but says was not told about the possible sides effects. Dr. Bhatia tells The Doctors one of her meds affected her blood pressure, and shares it caused her to pass out while driving and she crashed her car.
"I could have hurt somebody else and I could have hurt myself," she says, explaining the incident lead her on a journey to take control of her health issues.
So how can patients avoid a situation like this? Dr. Bhatia suggests the following steps:
- Identify what you are feeling and note the top 3 or 4 symptoms you are experiencing
- Determine how these symptoms are affecting your quality of life
- Discuss with your doctor what you can do next
Dr. Bhatia warns if you feel your doctor is not taking this conversation seriously or seems distracted or not interested, they may not be the best fit for you and to get an additional opinion. She explains once you have received an opinion you feel comfortable with and when you feel your concerns have been addressed, you should be able to put to get an action plan for yourself with your doctor.