Have You Heard About Doctor Shopping?
People go into the medical field to help those who suffer. But often, others exploit that desire to help in the form of doctor shopping. Believe it or not, some people go from doctor to doctor looking for something specific. They do not need medical attention. Rather, they are “shopping” to find one or more who will nurture their addiction.
In this article, Midwood Addiction Treatment attends to the following matters:
- What is doctor shopping?
- How is doctor shopping different from prescription drug use?
- Why do people shop for doctors?
- How does doctor shopping relate to opioid abuse?
- What if I want more information?
What Is Doctor Shopping?
Doctor shopping refers to filling prescriptions from more than one healthcare provider. Or it might look like filling the same prescription at the same provider. A person could fake an illness and then visit a doctor. Next, the doctor writes the person a prescription. The person fills the prescription. After that, they visit a different doctor. Then, the entire process repeats.
Granted, one should seek out the best physician to fit ones’ needs. Not every doctor provides a good fit for every person. But doctor shopping to fuel an addiction makes a different matter. If a doctor refuses to fill a prescription for you, they likely have a good reason for doing so.
How Is Doctor Shopping Different From Prescription Drug Use?
Doctors intend for prescriptions to help you. You know how visits to the doctor’s office go. You bring a symptom to their attention. They may (or may not) prescribe you medication to help with that symptom. If you do get a prescription, take it per the label directions. Take the exact dosage with the directed frequency. When the prescription runs out, refill it if needed. That constitutes legitimate prescription drug use.
Good Doctors Ask Questions
But, a good doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. Good questions about what else might be contributing to your illness. They might ask you about recent stressors in your life. They might grill you about how you eat, and how often you exercise. If you’re thinking about asking for a specific medication, ask yourself a few things:
- What consequences will I face if I do not have access to this medication?
- What non-medicinal changes could I make in my life to help with this problem?
- Why do I want this specific medication?
- Are my symptoms pointing to a deeper problem that I need to address?
- What will this medicine add to my life that I don’t have right now?
Why Do People Shop For Doctors?
We understand that sometimes people might opt for a different doctor. But when people doctor shop, they do it to access drugs. Prescriptions can provide legitimate medicines for legitimate needs. But some people use this legitimate means for illicit purposes.
Often, those abusing opioids will doctor shop. You may know that opioids work as painkillers. Naturally occurring in the poppy plant, opioids have become susceptible to high rates of abuse. Opioid abuse can cause a person to descend into opioid use disorder (OUD). For a person suffering from OUD, doctor shopping appears as a tangible solution to a problem.
How Does Doctor Shopping Relate To Opioid Abuse?
This study showed a positive correlation between doctor shopping and opioid abuse. What does that mean in everyday language? People addicted to opioids become more likely to look for a doctor who will cater to their demands. And they exhibit a willingness to travel in order to get their fix.
What Consequences Exist For Doctor Shopping?
Tennessee requires prescribers to report patients who drift from place to place. The state considers doctor shopping as a form of fraud. Therefore, the state could severely punish someone convicted of doctor shopping. If convicted, a judge might sentence a person to jail. Such a sentence might incarcerate someone struggling with opioid use disorder. Some forms of MOUD (medication for opioid use disorder) exist in prisons. Unfortunately, less than 1% of jails and prisons provide MOUD.
What If I Want More Information?
Perhaps you know someone who struggles with opioid use disorder. Maybe you’ve discovered them shopping for doctors. This person experiences quite a bit of pain. Additionally, they may also endure a mental illness. People with both ailments have become common. Researchers call this comorbidity – when a person has both a substance use disorder and a mental illness.
Please know that hope exists for you. It likewise exists for your loved ones. Doctor shopping, and its underlying illnesses, need not be a lifetime practice. You can break these kinds of cycles.
If you or someone you know may be doctor shopping to support an addiction, you are welcome to give us a call for advice and guidance. All calls are completely confidential. Midwood Addiction Treatment can help.