Have you ever finished an appointment with your dermatologist for your psoriasis or other skin issue and felt as though the visit was a waste of time? They either told you things you already knew, or for some reason you weren’t as vocal about your concerns about your condition as you would have liked? Many doctors see many patients per day, so the time you receive with them is imperative and every minute counts.
Here are three tips on how you can maximize your visits with your dermatologist to achieve the best results for you and your disease.****Make a list: Create a list of questions for your doctor before you have the visit. Think about the concerns you have in regard to your condition and the treatment options. What are some things you don’t understand about your condition? Call and ask if there is an e-mail address that you can send these questions to in advance, so when you arrive to the appointment the doctor can have answers ready. Also, bring a list of medicines you are currently taking to share with the doctor. In addition to that, bring a list of medicines you have already tried.
Do research: Don’t rely on the doctor to tell you everything you need to know about your treatment options. Be proactive and research treatments for yourself to see what will work best for you according to your lifestyle. There are several treatment options for psoriasis, for instance, but they all come with different risks and sacrifices. For example, topical treatments are usually less expensive and come with a lower risk of side effects, but can take longer to work and sometimes can be very time consuming when/if you have to apply them three times a day. This is unlike biologics, which have a tendency to work much faster but come with greater risk. They’re also much more expensive, and sometimes an insurance company will give you a hassle to get approval. These medicines also require you to be tested for different things to ensure the medicine is not causing other issues. Be sure to ask yourself, “What type of time do I have or am I willing to sacrifice?”
Express yourself: How many times has the doctor asked, “How are you?” and you give the expected response of “I’m fine.” But deep down inside you are stressed, overwhelmed and depressed about your condition.** Stop doing this.**** Be honest and upfront with your doctoe transparent.** If you are feeling depressed about your situation, BE HONEST. There are resources that the doctor can give you to help you cope, but you will never know if you don’t express yourself. There’s no doctor that can help you if he or she doesn’t know what you are dealing with.
There is a huge emotional aspect to some conditions that doctors often miss, but it’s because we, as patients, don’t speak up enough. They can even refer you to a counselor to help you cope. However, if you do express your feelings and your doctor is not concerned about it, find a new physician ASAP!
Alisha Bridges is a freelance health writer on the topics of sexual health, skin care, and psoriasis. She has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. Alisha is the creator of www.Beingmeinmyownskin.com, a site dedicated to sharing what it’s like to live with psoriasis. She is also a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a physician assistant with a concentration in dermatology. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @alishambridges.