A Closer Look at Doctor Shopping
Drugs and other medications can be expensive, leaving many people feeling like they’re at the mercy of their physicians. Doctor shopping is an addiction that involves visiting different doctors or emergency rooms to obtain multiple prescriptions for drugs or even medical devices. This can be frustrating for both the client and the doctor. This practice has become a significant concern for the medical community, has led to the creation of new laws and regulations, and has even created the need to teach doctors how to identify potential doctor shoppers.
What Is Doctor Shopping?
People who engage in doctor shopping will visit numerous doctors’ offices with the intent of obtaining a prescription for narcotic painkillers and other drugs. In some cases, doctor shoppers may also obtain a prescription for a medical device that can be used to help relieve pain. Doctor shopping isn’t limited to narcotic pain medications, even if this is the most common reason for doctor shopping. Pain medications aren’t the only things doctor shoppers will go after, even though they may be the most sought after. Doctor shoppers may also seek out and obtain prescriptions for antidepressants, sedatives, muscle relaxers, and stimulants.
Forms of Doctor Shopping
Doctor shopping can occur in several ways. One common scenario is for those suffering from an illness or injury to visit their current doctor, explain their symptoms, and request a prescription for pain medication. As clients leave the doctor’s office, they’re met by a person who has set up shop outside the medical office. The doctor shopper then explains that he or she is a real doctor and wants to see the prescription. This will usually be enough for clients to give the doctor shopper their prescription.
Doctor shopping is a costly habit. Obtaining prescriptions can cost thousands of dollars in excess costs. Many people who doctor shop won’t even be aware of the costs associated with their shopping habits. This is because their prescriptions are frequently filled at pharmacies and drugstores, which don’t charge for switching doctors. In addition to the fees associated with doctor shopping, people who engage in doctor shopping will almost always require an increase in their dosage. This can be due to tolerance built up or an addiction growing over time.
How to Identify a Doctor Shopper
There are some signs to look out for that can indicate a person is doctor shopping.
- A person who will obtain multiple prescriptions from different doctors: Doctor shoppers often rush to obtain their prescriptions and will do whatever it takes to get them as soon as possible. This can mean going from doctor to doctor or even visiting an emergency room multiple times.
- A person who’s overly friendly with the medical staff: It’s normal for clients to have a friendly relationship with their doctors, especially if they’ve been seeing them for some time. If people are overly friendly with the staff, it could indicate that they are trying to build up a rapport that allows them to reach out to the medical staff at their leisure.
- A person who will pay multiple visits to the same doctor: If a person visits multiple doctors, it doesn’t mean he or she needs to use the same one each time. A person that will constantly come back to the same doctor could be a doctor shopper.
How to Avoid Doctor Shopping
One way to avoid doctor shopping is through prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). These programs collect data on people who have received prescriptions for narcotics. This makes it difficult for doctor shoppers to get multiple doctors’ prescriptions.
Effects of Doctor Shopping
The effects of doctor shopping aren’t limited to the person who does the shopping. The family and friends of a doctor shopper can be negatively affected as well. The effects of a single doctor shopper can typically be overlooked. However, when doctor shopping becomes a habit, the family and friends of the person doctor shopping begin to feel the burden. There are several ways that doctor shopping can affect those around you.
- The cost of doctor shopping: Doctor shopping often costs thousands of dollars. This is because the person who shops for doctors will need to purchase a larger quantity of drugs to get the same results as the person who isn’t. This can end up being a strain financially.
- The health effects of doctor shopping: The drugs that doctor shoppers use can harm their health. This means they could lose control over their addiction and end up on the streets trying to get money for more drugs.
- The time that doctors must spend dealing with doctor shoppers: The staff at a medical office will have to spend time dealing with doctor shoppers. This can be an inconvenience, and some people may prefer to avoid this expense.
How to Help a Doctor Shopper
There are several ways to deal with a doctor shopper.
- Rehab: The drug rehab program at Granite Recovery Centers is a good way for doctor shoppers to seek treatment. This focuses on treating people addicted to the drugs rather than punishing them. Our drug rehab program is meant to help people recover from their addiction and learn how to live without drugs. We offer a 12-step program aimed at helping clients with their addictions. At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and an Intensive Residential Program.
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): An intensive outpatient program is the most effective way of dealing with addiction. This program allows clients to progress through rehab while continuing to work or attend school. This lets them continue their normal lives while they’re in treatment.
- Residential Program: The intensive residential program is a more long-term treatment option. This means clients must stay in rehab for anywhere from one week to six months. Intensive residential treatment will be sufficient to help them overcome their addictions. This option is great for people looking for long-term rehabilitation to overcome the addiction permanently and embark on sober living.
- Detox: The detox program is another form of treatment in which clients can participate. The detox plan will let you go through the painful process of withdrawing from your drug of choice without feeling any pain. This means you will be able to leave the program without experiencing withdrawal. This can be done in a facility and is an excellent way of overcoming a doctor-shopping habit.
Most doctors will recommend that if you have a substance use disorder, your first step should be to abstain from any substance that could pose a problem for you. At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA). This program encourages people to support one another as they work through their drug problems. The meetings aren’t just for doctor shoppers; they can be a great way to deal with addiction in general.
The support of family and friends will go a long way when dealing with a doctor shopper. This kind of support will provide them with the tools they need to combat their addiction. This can help to make a person’s recovery that much easier.
Another way of helping a person who is doctor shopping is called outreach. It is usually performed by people who have been in recovery or by medical professionals. This means they can help doctor shoppers get into a treatment program and deal with their addiction.
Learning more about substance use disorder and the issues that stem from it, such as doctor stemming, is critical to spread awareness throughout the medical industry. This way, doctors can keep an eye out for suspicious behavior before it occurs. Education on the subject can help families and friends support their loved one, and it might even give a person the self-awareness that they have a problem developing. The financial and psychological toll that addiction, especially in severe stages, is astronomical, and sometimes even fatal. Proper education and awareness will allow individuals and their loved ones to see the importance of treating their addiction and getting to the main root of the problem.
Intervention is a common tactic that can serve as a vehicle to spark willingness to change for someone with an addiction. Medical intervention means that the doctor will provide a treatment plan to help you overcome your addiction, and often requires a detox of the substance that can be incredibly uncomfortable. In these situations, medications can help to alleviate the severe physical and mental symptoms throughout withdrawal.
Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Doctor shoppers need help in more ways than one. Then need first to start dealing with the addiction and then to work on improving their mental health. The therapy that you receive at our centers will help you understand your addiction better and will help you improve both mentally and physically. Our mental health program offers services like these.
As our client, the psychological therapy you receive will help you work through your addiction. The psychological therapy targeting doctor shopping will also help you deal with the emotional pain of addiction.
Mental Health Therapy
Mental health therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), is very beneficial for doctor shopping. You can start to concentrate on working on the feelings that stem from their addiction rather than the addiction itself.
The group therapy you will receive allows you to work through your emotions and deal with your addiction. This lets clients focus on helping each other and gaining some objectivity. Group therapy lets you see that you are not alone.
If the Doctor Shopper Is a Family Member
If the doctor shopper is a family member, it can be tough to deal with their ongoing addiction issues. However, there are ways of doing so and things they can do to help the individual overcome the addiction, and also help the family and friends heal from the unrest it can cause.
The most important thing family members can do is be supportive. This means that family members should be there when needed. Their support can make all the difference when it comes to achieving positive results.
Give Them a Break
Those with substance abuse disorders need time and patience to overcome their addiction, so having compassion for your loved one is of utmost importance during this fragile time. Everyone involved needs space to heal and time to focus on getting better. Cutting them some slack will allow them to focus on their addiction without pressure or guilt.
This is by no means a “pass” or giving someone an excuse for bad behavior, and they will likely need to make amends for the hurt they may have caused while in active addiction. If they choose to follow the 12-Step program outlined by the Big Book and in our R-E-S-T program, the time to right these wrongs will come in time when they have more mental and spiritual clarity.
Accept the Situation
Family members should also learn to accept the situation. If they don’t, they will be consumed by the feelings that come with their loved one’s addiction. This will be very difficult, and they may feel like they are losing their family. However, if they can accept the situation, they can help the doctor shopper overcome the addiction.
In conclusion, doctor shopping is a problematic issue that has been on the rise, and it’s a serious addiction that requires treatment to overcome. If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction, there are many resources that you can use to help you overcome your addiction. At Granite Recovery Centers, we help provide the best and most effective treatment available. Contact us as soon as possible to begin your recovery process.