Negative communication between doctor and patient could make symptoms worse

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Date Published: February-2015
Source: News Medical

Doctors who unintentionally communicate to patients that they don't believe or understand them could actually make symptoms worse, a new study suggests. The research by the Universities of Southampton and Exeter indicates that a type of 'nocebo' response, where patients perceive a lack of understanding or acceptance from their doctor, could create anger and distress - physiological conditions that can worsen illness. "Our work indicates that the effects of patients feeling that their doctor doesn't believe or understand them can be damaging both emotionally and physiologically," says lead author Dr Maddy Greville-Harris, from the University of Southampton. "This could lead to worsening of illness, known as the 'nocebo response'.