A recent national survey of doctors and hospitalized patients found that only 48% of patients said they were involved in decisions about their treatment. What’s even more alarming, 29% didn’t know who was in charge of their case while they were hospitalized.

This got me to thinking about how we often place control of our health completely into the hands of our doctors. Now don’t get me wrong—doctors are usually an important part of our healing paths—but it is essential that we stay informed about our condition and treatment, and that we are the ones who ultimately decide what treatment we receive. 

Think about it. How often have you felt helpless in the hands of your doctor(s)? Have you ever felt like there were no real choices in the treatment of your ailment? A lot of you are probably nodding your heads.

This week, I want you to think about the role you play in the decision-making process when it comes to your health. Think about how you can strengthen that role, and become more informed and in control of your health. Some questions to consider:

  • How do you communicate with your health care practitioner? Do you feel comfortable telling them everything? Or do you leave out certain details? Do you get nervous, or even angry, when communicating with him/her? Does your doctor listen to everything you have to say?
  • Do you inform yourself about your health? If you have a health condition, do you know how it’s treated with standard medicine? Do you know what natural alternatives you have? Do you know your options? Do you know a lot about the condition and what may have lead to its development?
  • If you are taking medications, do you know the possible side effects, or safety issues? Do you talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any concerns you may have regarding your medications, or their interactions?
  • Finally, are you honest with yourself about doing all you can to better your health? Do you tend to fall into the same old patterns because they are comfortable, and you think that change is too difficult, or even impossible?

What might be stopping you from taking control of your health? Think about it. Then start thinking about how you can take more charge over your well being.