Am I a victim of patient profiling?

Since around the age of 16 my GP's have been speculating that I may have mental health problems although I have never presented with concerns of my own (I turn up with a cold and they suggest counselling or anti-depressants - obviously I'm exaggerating but that's how it feels), it is my firm belief that this is due to my mothers medical history which includes Bipola Dissorder.

I have endometriosis and periods of vomiting during my mentsrual cycle as well as having IBS & suspected Pelvic floor dysfunction.

When the vomiting first presented (pre-endometriosis diagnosis) I had tests to "rule out anything sinister" and all came back normal which meant the cause for the vomiting was, at the time, unknown. Yesterday my GP told me that in the notes from that period, it was written that it was "a mind illness rather than a physical one".

My most recent visit to my GP was advised by a doctor who treated me at A&E for dehydration caused by the vomiting and "severe constipation", which he believed could have been the cause of the vomiting (I hadn't made a BM in almost 3 weeks). It was his belief that my IBS and vomiting should have been being managed better with the help of a gastroenterologist and he advised me to speak to my gp to get a referral although he felt this should have already been something that had been done by now & even suggested considering changing GP.

Taking his advice, when I had recovered, I attended an appointment with my GP and explained the doctors suggestion. She responded by saying she didn't have the authority to make a referral so she would speak to a more senior dr and call me in a couple of days. Today was the day she called.

"After speaking with a senior here and after looking back through your notes, I seen that you had some tests in the past and you seen a doctor about your vomiting in 2007, so as your symptoms haven't changed much since then I don't think referring you to a gastroenterologist would be the right thing to do. Would you be happy to see a mental health worker?".

I replied by telling her, when I was last seen (a decade ago) about my vomiting symptoms, I didn't have the bowel problems which I now have and which influenced the doctor at A&E's advice, nor the weight loss (which started almost two months ago). Again, in a highly patronising tone she said "like I said, I'm happy to refer you to a mental health worker and in the meantime while you're concerned you can pop in to have a chat with me. I'll make you an appointment for Friday".

Am I the victim of patient profiling, it certainly feels that way?!

1 Reply

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  • I can see where you are coming from, but I don't think they are profiling you. They are doing their job. Medical doctors are trained to recognize mental health disorders based on repetitive complaints and symptoms not adding up. What it seems like to me is they are suspecting you have fibromyalgia or hypochondriaasis. The reason for this is because a) your mother's history, b) you have IBS, which is strongly associated with depression, and anxiety. c) they see you came in for vomitting before, and because your not dead after 10 years its not a physifal problem (but i understand its two seperate occasions) they are assuming that it is a mental disorder manifesting physically. Hypochondriacs think there is constantly something wrong and will push to see specialists etc. They are basically just trying to do what they believe is right, even though doctors can be wrong sometimes.

    However, you could have an underlying disorder and not know it. I suggest seeing another doctor for a second opinion and branch off from there. If it ends up the same, I suggest seeking out therapy. Regardless if you DO have a mental disorder or not, everyone could use a therapist!! So it isn't wasted time.

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