How truthful are we with our physicians? A JAMA Network Open study shows that between 60 and 80% of patients lie to their doctors. Most healthcare providers are aware that their patients withhold certain facts, but it shocked many to discover that most patients go beyond that and deliberately lie to their physicians. Some wish to avoid judgment, while others are trying to change their diagnosis. Most patients are not equipped to know which lies are "harmless" and which could seriously affect their health.
One of the most common lies doctors encounter is the claim that their patient doesn’t "do drugs." Depending on the drug, illicit use is, on its own, already dangerous. Adding a prescription with potential interactions is a recipe for disaster. Patients tend to lie about their drug use because they are afraid of criminal charges or judgment. However, patient-doctor confidentiality protects every patient. Doctors cannot alert law enforcement, except in very specific and rare circumstances.
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