Why It’s Important to Tell Your Doctor Everything You Know About Using Substances ?

The Obstacle of Honesty Many people are dishonest with the professionals in their medical care, whether they are lying about whether they have been exercising, eating a healthy diet, or taking their medications as directed. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is no different, and if anything, it makes patients feel even more anxious. When discussing substance abuse with a primary care provider, it is normal to feel vulnerable because many people are afraid of being judged, reported, or mistreated.
However, it is essential to tell your doctor everything you know about your drinking habits and any drug abuse. Not only will this assist you in receiving efficient treatment, but it may also save your life.

Why do people lie about their drug use?

Let’s take a look at the reasons why people may be dishonest in the first place before we get into the reasons why it is a good idea to tell your doctor about your use of substances.
In a recent study that was published in JAMA Network Open, researchers looked into the reasons why some patients are lying to their doctors and nurses.Their discoveries included:

  • 82% of patients stated that they did not want to be lectured, stigmatized, or judged.
  • 76% of patients stated that they did not wish to learn that their actions were harmful.
  • Sixty-one percent of patients expressed shame.

Also, the study found that people were more willing to tell an online bot about their mental health symptoms than they were to tell a person in person.There are additional reasons why a person may not be honest with a primary care provider about their substance abuse history in addition to the findings of the study.


  • Patients with drug or alcohol abuse have additional reasons for dishonesty.A few patients said that they:
  • did not want information about their drug use in their medical record.
  • feared being mistreated and not receiving adequate medical care.
  • I didn’t want to appear difficult.
  • feared being reported to an agency or authority.
  • aren’t ready to admit that they use drugs.
  • I didn’t want to occupy the doctor’s time anymore.
  • disagreement with the treatment plan.
  • did not comprehend the doctor’s words.
  • Neglected to follow the suggested treatment plan.
  • Necessitated help not.

Consequences of dishonesty

For some of the aforementioned reasons, it is understandable why some individuals find it difficult to be open with their primary care provider about their substance abuse. However, lying about your substance use can have serious negative effects on your health, from minor to potentially fatal ones.
Take, for instance, the scenario in which a patient’s substance abuse history is not disclosed during the initial assessment, which results in the incorrect problem being identified.All things considered, this mistaken evaluation could prompt misdiagnosis and abuse (e.g., inaccurate meds, wrong treatment plan), causing inadequate outcomes and burning through cash and time.

Some examples of these repercussions are as follows:

Your medical treatment is directly linked to your substance abuse history.Even though this is something that a lot of people don’t want to talk about when they are admitted to the hospital, not talking about using drugs could lead to more health issues.For instance, if you’ve been abusing cocaine and are experiencing a heart attack, some common treatments might actually make the condition worse.

The typical mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and benzodiazepines can resemble anxiety symptoms and even trigger panic attacks. Without disclosing information about their substance use, some people see a mental health therapist or psychiatrist or tell their primary care provider about their symptoms.An individual may be subjected to potentially ineffective treatment if they do not disclose their substance abuse history. Seizures, convulsions, and strokes can occur during alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal, and if not treated medically, withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.

Drug interactions in particular can be harmful.Certain combinations alter the strength or weakness of the medications;Some can even cancel each other out, rendering them useless.
It is absolutely necessary to tell your doctor exactly what you took if you are admitted to the hospital for an overdose so that they can give you the right medication to save your life.


How to Tell Your Doctor Straight About Your Use of Substances?

Even though it might seem hard, remembering the following things might make it easier:

Patient-Doctor Confidentiality:

First of all, you won’t run into any legal issues if you tell your doctor about your drug use. According to federal law, your doctor is bound by confidentiality and cannot disclose your information to a third party without your consent.In addition, a prosecutor cannot use your doctor in a legal trial against you.


The relationship with your primary care physician works best in the event that you can team up and fill in collectively for your treatment.


In order to determine the level of care you require, your doctor may be able to provide objective feedback on the severity of your substance abuse and make referrals to specialists.

Not a Surprise:

Your doctor has probably been taking care of a wide range of patient’s needs for many years or decades. Even if you think your situation is too unique or difficult for a doctor to handle, they have probably dealt with similar ones before.

It’s time for a shift:

It might be time to find a new doctor if you don’t feel like you can be open with your primary care provider.You genuinely must feel great and upheld by your essential consideration supplier.


Your blood work and urine can indicate a high likelihood of substance abuse even if you do not disclose your use.


Consider your primary care physician to be a data-collecting scientist to alleviate your concerns about being open about your health.In order for them to accurately and effectively evaluate and treat the issue at hand, they require your sincere responses.

Prioritize Your Health

It is essential to disclose substance abuse to your medical professionals in order to effectively manage your health. Being dishonest with your primary care physician can have serious repercussions.Find a doctor who cares about you and knows a lot about medicine. You should be open with them about your past use of drugs.
Assuming you are battling with medication or liquor misuse, your primary care physician might suggest that you look for proficient fixation treatment. This is intended for your benefit so that you can work toward a life that is both healthy and satisfying. Contact an addiction treatment provider right away to talk about your treatment options if you or someone you care about has an addiction and is ready to find rehab.

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