chapter  15
The Angry or Tearful Patient
Pages 4

While physicians are professionals who have to manage a variety of patients and tolerate diverse behaviors, they routinely encounter patients who experience emotions and demonstrate behaviors that interfere with their care. Their behaviors evoke negative feelings and responses from health professionals. Such negative reactions make health professionals averse to interacting with these so-called “diffi cult” patients. For example, patients who are angry can make the doctor defensive, avoid discussing issues, reduce the time for interaction, make their physicians take a superfi cial approach to care, or even refuse treatment. Many emotional reactions and behaviors of patients can result in aversive reactions from healthcare professionals: sadness and depression, fear and anxiety, excessive dependency, competitiveness and challenging behavior, narcissism, passive aggression, and treatment refusal.