What to do when patients lie

Patients lie. They lie about how much they eat, drink, smoke, exercise; they exaggerate or downplay illnesses. When patients lie, it can interfere with how their doctor treats them. It can lead to higher expenses, such as unnecessary tests or unneeded medications. It can also put patients in danger if a physician doesn't know certain critical information when making a diagnosis or prescribing a medication.

Given the risks involved, why do patients lie? According to psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy, patients are often intimidated by doctors. Also, "researchers say patients often lie to save face. They want to be "good patients" in their doctors' eyes," notes Sophy. Among other things, doctors should ask a lot of questions and avoid sounding judgmental in order to help patients feel comfortable enough not to lie.

For more on this:
- check out this article from the Chicago Tribune