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Featured Doctors Ignoring Women's Problems.

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by AngelaS267, May 11, 2020.

  1. AngelaS267

    AngelaS267 Active Member

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    So I had to talk to a psychiatrist this morning about my depression. This has been a huge step for me. This is the first time in my life that I've ever gotten help from professionals with my anxiety and depression. I am very grateful, and happy to be getting this help.

    However, I have noticed a very unfortunate pattern with all of the health care professionals that I've spoken to. They don't want to talk about me being autistic, and it takes many tries before I am heard.

    I spoke with this doctor for an hour. He, like many of the other doctors I spoke to, asked me what has caused the depression and anxiety in the past. I bring up the obvious family trauma that I went through which gets me extremely emotional every time without fail. But I always also say to them, I also have other mental health concerns that have gone unchecked all my life that have continued to impact me. Autism being the big one.

    This doctor I spoke to literally said to me, "Well. I must say, you don't look autistic.".... A whole doctor with a PH.D. I didn't even get to explain to him how I came to this conclusion. He just said that after I told him I believed I was on the spectrum and I have issues with communicating with people because of it. That was actually when I FIRST started experiencing anxiety. I didn't know how to communicate with people, and didn't know why. The family trauma came after. I told the doctor that symptoms are often missed in women which is why I may look okay. I told him the reason I can articulate myself to him so well is because I have had this conversation 1000x already with many different doctors and therapists. I know this conversation like the back of my hand. I know I'm going to cry, and I know in what order to explain what happened to us growing up. But when I am out in the world, I struggle hard to communicate with people.

    It's very frustrating as a woman to have this recurring issue of not being heard when I say something THE FIRST TIME! It took me 3 doctors visits from 3 different doctors before someone gave me help for anxiety and depression, with the first doctor telling me I was smart and articulate, and he didn't want to put that I had something wrong with me "on my record." To have health care professionals that I trust tell me that what I'm going through isn't happening is counter productive. It's a waste of precious time. Someone might not get the energy to go back to the doctor again for another year because of their mental health issues. All the doctors who have minimized my struggles have been male doctors (I am not saying all male doctors are bad or don't listen, but in my experience, male doctors have brushed off a lot of my concerns.) It sucks that women have to sit back and go through unnecessary pain and struggle to keep afloat with their mental health, all because the doctor doesn't want to take your concerns seriously.

    The doctor said at the end of the visit, "It's also important to go out and communicate with people to help get yourself out of a depressed mood."... I had said to him 3 times that I struggle with communication. It feels like doctors are only equipped to talk about anxiety and depression. But if you MISS the other things, then what's the real point??? I still need support in that area of my life, it is a BIG part of my life.

    Had anyone else experienced this with their doctor? I know it's not just women, but statistically, we get ignored more regularly than male patients. Guys here are welcome to share their experience, but I just want to know who else gets totally ignored by their doctors?
     
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  2. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I also experienced that. There were even male doctors that literally told me that I'm 'overreacting' when I described my anxiety (without mentioning anything else), then slapped on me some pills and that was it (the pills themselves gave me nothing). Female doctors seem more understanding in general from what I observed and generally I started to use my childhood experiences as an excuse to stop seeing male doctors at all.

    I don't mind guys... but I have literally met maybe one good male mental health professional.
     
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  3. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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    The "Ph.D" you spoke with sounds like a psychologist, not a medical doctor. I was referred to a psychologist at one point, and this person was unable to make a diagnosis of any kind. All she said was, "you are a tough nut to crack." Then I was referred to a psychiatrist (a medical doctor) and was diagnosed with ASD and general anxiety disorder during my first appointment. I am not "borderline, but am full fledged Aspie. The psychologist simply did not recognize me as such.

    I would try to get an appointment with a psychiatrist who specializes in neurodevelopment disorders.
     
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  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Woman's concerns aren't taken that seriously. It seems we fall in the bottom.
     
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  5. Ken S.

    Ken S. Dog Cookie King V.I.P Member

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    It's not just women.
    I could give you a list of horrible experiences with Doctors across multiple practices that would make satan cringe. I can also give you a list of doctors that were honest and professional.
    The first time I had a doctor tell me "You don't look autistic." I told him "Funny I didn't know autistic people had noticeable physical features." Shut him right up.
     
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  6. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's highly likely that you require someone who's trained as a psychatrist but has experience or specialization in autism. I've had several doctors where I've lived in the past, who seemed to ignore basic difficulties, or had agenda's of their own, both male and female.

    One of the problems I've had in the past, was speaking up for myself and being very clear about what I want. Being certain of what I expect from who I'm seeing. Doctor's tend from training to treat one thing at a time, not several. And they often have difficulty if many things are brought up all at once.

    In the past I had a tendency to ramble, and not be taken seriously. So that might be part of it. It may help you to discuss one thing at time, and with your Doctor look for solutions.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  7. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    1) I've heard that fewer women are diagnosed as autistic because they're better at the social interactions that are often used to identify autistic people. Basically, they mask better.

    2) It sounds like this doctor doesn't actually know anything about autism and is just relying on stereotypes. Like others here have said, you need to find someone that has some experience with or specializes in autism.
     
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  8. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    That is awesome. I couldn't have come up with that kind of response on the fly, but I'm going to steal yours if the situation ever comes up. I might change it a bit and say, "What stereotypes from pop culture do you think you're supposed to see?"
     
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  9. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    How about "You don't look ignorant, yet here we are."
     
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  10. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Think it's upsetting when female problems are trivialized. It hurts inside, that we aren't taken seriously. You have more chances of surviving a heart attack if you are male at the emergency room. It's about a 50/50 chance that it will be correctly diagnosed if you are female. These are the facts.
     
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  11. menander

    menander Active Member

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    I sure wish you could get one person to validate your autism. Since it's not mental illness, I would not go to a therapist. Do you have access to a neuro-psychologist? A therapist is looking for mental illness. Unless they are a specialist in autism, they really could not understand. Even then, as you said, there are so many cases of women being mis-diagnosed.

    Your best bet is first a neuro-psych and/or second, a female therapist who is autism specialist. Short of that, and it's bang your head on the wall indefinitely unless you luck out.

    The best part of a neuro-psychologist is that if you do NOT have autism, they will find out what you do have. The goal is to find out what is your difference, not to get the autism diagnosis if it's not true.

    Do you have access to one?
     
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  12. AngelaS267

    AngelaS267 Active Member

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    Thank you to everyone who commented with some insight on the situation. I always appreciate an outside perspective. You guys are right, I should speak to a specialist about being autistic, and handle my problems one at a time. The guy I spoke to was a psychiatrist. I am just in such a zone now about healing myself, that I get frustrated when I feel like I am being undermined, or not being heard. Also, the only reason I bring up women in health care is because after my meeting with the doctor, I googled, "Not feeling heard from my doctor." A lot of articles came up about how statistically, women are less likely to get help with medical issues than men, which I wont lie, did fuel my frustration this morning. I should have put a disclaimer that men absolutely experience this as well.

    I also really didn't like the fact that he said I don't look autistic. If he doesn't specialize in it, that's fair enough. But oh my goodness, that is just so ignorant. I'm disappointed in how little health care professionals know about autism. When I go to my doctors and they don't listen, it makes me feel silly, and it causes me to question myself. I notice a huge difference in my interaction with the first psychiatrist compared to this guy. She listened to me a lot better. I didn't much care for how my interaction went with this current doctor.

    Anyways, I love you all for the helpful words. Thank you so much!
     
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  13. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member

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    A lot of medicos are a bit eccentric themselves, I suspect nvld might be represented in that field. It. Takes a long time to find one you can work with and yeah you may have to bring stuff up more than once, they're not perfect, are you? I wouldn't want to be a doctor, especially not general practice, it must be incredibly demanding.
     
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  14. AngelaS267

    AngelaS267 Active Member

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    Thank you for the reply. I will have to look and see if there is one near me. I'm in California right now, and I drive past a huge autism center, and always wanted to check it out. I'll do some further research. I honestly didn't know which doctor I should go to for help, so thank you.
     
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  15. menander

    menander Active Member

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    We are here to help. I am sure that will all the brain matter here, someone can really help. I do hope you get seen by someone respectful because it's not right what you are enduring.
     
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  16. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    It is. It wouldn't be in the DSM if it wasn't.
     
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  17. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's not a mental illness. Developmental disorders like autism differ from mental illness in several important ways. Developmental disorders generally appear at birth or during childhood. While mental illness doesn’t typically interfere with cognitive abilities, a developmental disorder may impact a person’s ability to learn or to understand certain thoughts. Unlike mental illness, which can be successfully treated, developmental disorders are lifelong.



    ...There really is no scientific basis on which to separate a psychiatric disorder from a neurological or developmental one. Certainly there are some things that are different when considering autism, especially in its more severe forms, relative to things like depression or anxiety. The development of autism seems less dependent on environmental factors than something like PTSD, for example. It also is generally present at a very early age. For many, autism just seems more intrinsically “biological” than many other conditions.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/abcs-child-psychiatry/201510/is-autism-mental-illness
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
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  18. Yeshuasdaughter

    Yeshuasdaughter Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I feel yr pain so much. I am going to be forty this year and I still am looking for a health professional who doesn't think I'm a hypochondriac for saying that I'm autistic, even though I tell them I was diagnosed as a kid.

    They ask what do I do when I'm anxious, and I say, play a word game, sort shapes, cover my ears and put the blankets over my head. And they say that those are not good ideas, that I need to do like stuff that people with anxiety do about thoughts and feelings.

    Well, I freak out because colors, shapes, sounds, smells, ideas get to be too much and it overwhelms me. Darkness and sorting shapes, playing word games and silence work to relax my tired neurons.

    But no one gets it.

    At my oncologists office (I have cancer) there is a neurologist who works in palliative care. I was very eager to meet with her, as I thought, "Finally, someone who understands autism!" She was in there with another medical professional and it freaked me out to be in a room with more than one person, I sort of had an autism overload. By my reaction, she assumed that I was a pill popper and had an anxiety disorder. I wasn't even there for medication! She only understood the "little boy" classic, stereotypical presentation of autism. A trained neurologist!

    So yeah, I don't know what to tell you. Just know that everyone else is going thru the same thing.
     
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  19. AngelaS267

    AngelaS267 Active Member

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    Thank you for the insight. Sometimes I even wonder if its worth pursuing a diagnosis at all :emojiconfused:... I mean, even if I do get diagnosed, what are the resources for people who present as though they're neurotypical? Or autistic adults.... It's sucks man, it really does. And I'm sorry that a supposed professional would treat you like that. Ugh, if I ever become something important, I'm gonna be the biggest advocate for public awareness of our end of the spectrum. We deserve to be seen.
     
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  20. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I literally went straight past this to Ken Ss comments. ... oops.:oops:

    But I think it was because it was short, not because I don't take women seriously. :)

    I almost never have to go to a Dr, but when I do I try to see a woman, although that doesn't always mean I am understood.

    However I have worked with many therapists and no one recognised my high autistic traits or Aspergers. Or if they did they didn't say. When I recognised it myself, and told them I had, they didn't know what it was.

    It's not well understood, and in people socialised as women (as I tend to say because I do not fully identify as female and other genders or lack of a gender aren't really understood either) autism is chronically unrecognised and indeed harder to diagnose because the diagnostic criteria are predicated on males.

    Perhaps it would give you some sense of satisfaction or completion to get a diagnosis, an autism clinic seems a good way forward if so, they should know the issues. But cynically, I also think diagnosis is partly political and financial and those issues play a part in what is diagnosed and what isn't.
     
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