Doctors need to assess and reassure dependent patients about their symptoms while treating only the observed signs.
- Dependent people have low self-esteem, making them submissive, clinging, indecisive and very trying.
- Doctors may be idealised by their dependent patients and invited to ‘rescue’ them by providing all the answers. Dependent patients can make you feel very important.
- Setting and stating realistic limits for the doctor–patient relationship safeguards against the doctor ultimately becoming frustrated or rejecting.
- Some dependent patients are ‘lifers’. Having continuing problems guards them against treatment termination. Therefore, assess and reassure patients about their symptoms, but treat only actual observed signs.