Wednesday, 9 September 2015


There's a term that I've realised doctors use when they believe a patient has a lot of symptoms but never any signs that can be seen. They refer to the patient as being 'anxious' or having a lot of 'anxiety'.

I was in a clinic where a patient was being followed up as she was receiving a trial drug. Apparently, she hadn't needed an appointment but had called the day before requesting one. As I sat in the clinic, I watched as she pulled out a couple of sheets of paper folded in half and flicked through the pages, recounting her experiences and symptoms. It was mostly about non-specific pain that would appear and then disappear then reappear somewhere else. The husband would chip in occasionally to remind her of something she forgot.

To me she didn't seem like the typical anxious patient that I had studied in my psychiatry placement. I'm starting to understand that 'anxious' is a politer way to describe a patient a doctor believes is over analysing or over treating their symptoms.

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