Why you lie to your doctor

Most of us have done it: your doctor asks you if you’ve been exercising, taking your medication, or eating healthily Longchi edition. You say: “Yes! Yes, I have!” Only, your doctor didn’t see your Instagram update of that last heavenly waffle you ate! In the TV series House, Dr Gregory House is famous for saying: “Everybody lies”, and he isn’t wrong.

So, why do we lie?

Most of us don’t make lying a part of our lives, but something strange happens when we get to the doctor or dentist – we suddenly become defensive. What exactly makes us behave as if we’ve been caught with our hand in the cookie jar?  Here are the main reasons we bend the truth:

Guilt and shame

“Yes, I paid attention to what you said and I’m getting regular exercise a few times a week.” In truth, what you really mean is that you’re walking to your car and back twice a day – that’s it! But you don’t want to disappoint your doctor, or feel like a loser for not making it to your gym-class.

The problem is: your doctor can see whether you’re toned or not and, he or she is not judging you as a person – they just want you to be well. Tell the truth – explain why you’re battling to keep gym appointments, and maybe you can work together on a diet & exercise plan that’s achievable.

Fear of judgment

“If I’m still smoking, will the doctor think I brought this bronchitis or sinusitis on myself? Will he still treat me, or will he blame me for being sick?” The truth is: doctors aren’t easily surprised and they’re not there to assign blame. They’re happier with the truth and duty-bound to keep your confidence.  If you are truthful, you will get much better help, because your doctor will know what they have to do to assist you.

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“I’m only eating a lot of unhealthy comfort food because I’m going through a stressful time – as soon as it’s over, I’ll pay attention to what I eat”. Only, what if the stressful time is the pattern of your life and you’re getting into a danger zone for lifestyle diseases like diabetes or heart disease? Telling your doctor that you only smoke on the weekends, or that you go to gym regularly when you don’t will make it harder for him/her to get a true picture of where your health is really at.


The truth can sometimes be scary. The fear of hearing that it might be cancer, diabetes or another terminal illness. So, you ignore the pain, avoid mentioning it to others and don’t go for a check-up. It’s important for you to know that most times your symptoms are going to mean something simple and relatively easy to fix. For those serious and scary conditions? The sooner they’re diagnosed, the better your chances are of beating them. Face the fear and allow your doctor to help you.

So don’t stretch the truth or lie to your doctor. Find a doctor that you can trust and give him or her all the information – it’s going to make you feel better!

Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com