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Correlation between having OCD and being a physician

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rata tat tat, Mar 29, 2002.

  1. rata tat tat

    rata tat tat Junior Member
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    Is it true that many doctors have OCD. I heard that somewhere and was just wondering if anyone had some info on that.
     
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  3. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I personally have OCD. So that makes 100% of respondants.
     
  4. UMgrad

    UMgrad Member
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    Maybe you should do a study. Start a poll.
    Count me as OCP candidate.
    That makes 2/2
     
  5. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    Both me and my lab partner have OCD.
    4/4
     
  6. praying mantis

    praying mantis Senior Member
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    Add another...I also have OCD.
     
  7. McEntrye

    McEntrye Senior Member
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    I think anyone who can perform well in Med School or in pre-med for that matter must be somewhat obsessive compulsive. To memorize all those biochem pathways and keep all the Ochem straight...you need to be somewhat OCD.
     
  8. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    You have to diffentiate between obsessive compulsive disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, and obsessive compulsive personality traits.

    OCD patients' lives are extremely disrupted by their disease. Their work, school, and home life are dominated by their OCD. They know it, but they cannot stop. I highly doubt more than a handful of unmedicated people with OCD are med students or doctors.

    OC personality disorder is not quite as bad. Usually, the extent of their obsessions and compulsions is not as bad, but can still disrupt their lives. However, these people realize their traits and do not wish to change them. They actually like them. This may represent a slightly higher proportion of med students.

    People with OC personality traits have certain obsessions and compulsions, but this does not disrupt their lives in any tangible way. I think a significant number of med students have some OC personality traits. Some more than others.
     
  9. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator
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    "A person with OCD has obsessive and compulsive behaviors that are extreme enough to interfere with everyday life. People with OCD should not be confused with a much larger group of individuals who are sometimes called "compulsive" because they hold themselves to a high standard of performance and are perfectionistic and very organized in their work and even in recreational activities. This type of "compulsiveness" often serves a valuable purpose, contributing to a person's self-esteem and success on the job. In that respect, it differs from the life-wrecking obsessions and rituals of the person with OCD."

    Here's a link to a screening test for OCD... <a href="http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/ocdtrt1.htm" target="_blank">OCD screening test</a>
     
  10. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    WPC is right. I was actually diagnosed with an obsesive compulsive personality/traits (the distinction wasn't really made) I really doubt anybody who made it this far actually has the obsessive compulsive disorder because in order to get the disorder it needs to disrupt your life. Is there anyone else out there who has been officially (by a doctor) diagnosed?
     
  11. gizzdogg

    gizzdogg keeper of the three lions
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    Hey Jalbrekt and the rest,

    I think i qualify as someone who had full fledged OCD. It was ruthless at times to keep going in school. My OCD emerged in high school and i had my bouts with it for 3 years after graduation. Unfortunately, I had to leave school for twice because of it. The OCD was so bad i couldn't go to class. I seriously spent over 8 hours a day dealing with the obsessions/compulsions. I didn't go to class for a whole month because i was getting whipped by the OCD. Luckily, that semester was erased from my transcript because the administrators were convinced that my poor performance wasn't due to laziness. The other time i was wiser and didn't sign up for classes. I did volunteer work instead.

    I'm sure these windows of time will be noticed by med schools. I'm not sure what to tell them. I technically had a research job even during one of these tough semesters, but only because the professor was so understanding and let me work whenever and as little as i wanted. During the other I did volunteer work as i mentioned.

    Now medication has changed my life. I'm a completely different person and have been for over two years now. How do you think i should handle this when I apply this fall? I know mental illness can be a touchy subject, even with those in the medical field. I understand adcoms concerns that i be fully able to handle the rigors of the profession. I know that i can handle them now. So if they ask why i didn't take classes those semesters, should i be completely honest, or should i be only partially honest and tell them i just decided to focus on lab work and ECs?

    I'm confident i'll get in somewhere with a 3.95 and a 39 MCAT. Like some of you, i now consider the remnants of my condition to be an advantage in school. Now I just hope i get a fair shake at all the schools i apply to. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  12. Sammmeyeam

    Sammmeyeam Senior Member
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    OCD is really severe... it interferes with your life to the extent that it would be hard to do well on the MCAT and in your classes.

    However, there is an Axis II Personality Disorder = Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). These are people that are "perfectionists" and invest a lot of time into one thing. They feel a lot of anxiety (OCD is an anxiety disorder), however they do not see this anxiety as being detrimental.

    I think a lot of pre-meds fit this description of OCPD...not OCD.
     
  13. SeeGulz

    SeeGulz Senior Member
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    OCD had a fairly strong hold on me in my early to mid-teens, both obsessions and compulsions (though never hand-washing). Probably around 16 I saw a show on Oprah about it, and that changed my life. It isn't that I sought help, but that I finally discovered that my weirdness was a medical condition shared by many others. After that, I just started to force myself to supress it or sublimate it into my studies. Now, at 30, It doesn't hinder me at all, but I can see it left its mark on my personality to some respects ... but nothing I think I need to or would want to change.

    There is an older woman in my apartment complex (I think in her 90's but very active) that washes her car almost every day it seems, and every night cleans every inch of her apartment in the dark. I have many times thought about leaving a note under her door about the disorder and the treatments available, but I wonder if I might do more harm than good?

    BTW, one thing that affected me greatly was a fear of chemicals, and that lasted into my early twenties. I had wanted to be a doctor on off since I was 11 or 12, but came to think that I could never do a chem or organic lab. So I became a psychology major. I am finishing up org 2 now, and I do hate the labs, but only because of the 7-8 page single spaced lab reports I have to write. Half the time I practically bath in those chemicals but I don't care ... except where my yield is concerned. :rolleyes:
     
  14. SeeGulz

    SeeGulz Senior Member
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    Oh, and Gizzdogg,if adcomms ask I say tell them the truth; its nothing to be ashamed of. Stress that you have been fine for two years, and that it obviously hasn't hindered your academic performance as of late. If anything, it will give you a greater compassion for those patients you will inevitable encounter that display bizarre or erratic behaivior. And you are probably bettered by all that you have had to overcome. Good luck in med school.
     
  15. rata tat tat

    rata tat tat Junior Member
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    hey y'all
    I guess since I originally started this post, I should reply. I have OCD as well, however now it is controlled (Luvox and behavioural cognitive therapy). However, in my first two years of University it affected my grades. I ended with with mostly B's, which is not bad, but not good either. After those two years I took time off of school and it helped. I saw a Psychiatrist and Pscyhologist and I'm definitely much better, however I still have some Obsessive tendencies during stressful situations like writing exams. I guess it effects my scores a little, but I study so damn much that I still end up with pretty good marks. The obstacles that I have faced with OCD have made me increbidibly strong. My dedication to overcome this disease has been fueled by my desire to be a Doctor.

    So, I guess I have the same question as gizzdog. Should I tell adcoms of this disease or am I taking a chance that they will feel that I wouldn't be able to hack a medical education with it. I usually explain my absence for one semester as "a chance to see if medicine was really for me" because I did work as a medical assistant for a bit. But, essentially I am lying because being a doctor is something that I've always known that I've wanted to be.

    What do you'all think??
     
  16. ckent

    ckent Membership Revoked
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    My personl opinion on listing a mental illness on your app is that if you don't have to mention (ie no obvious absences from school or dip in grades due to problems with the illness), it might be better just to leave it out of your app. Doctors, of all people, are not supposed to discriminate based on disability, but you never know who might be dealing with on the adcom, and there are still some of the old school folks that sit in high positions and might have a problem with it. Part of an adcom's job is to make sure that they pick a class that excel throughout all four years of their school's curriculum, so there's no reason to introduce any doubt to them (even though your condition might not be a real cause for doubt) on your ability to perform in medical school. There are a lot of people in med school with mental illnesses though, it's more prevalent here then the general population. Best of luck.
     
  17. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member
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    IMHO I would suggest you do NOT disclose your condition. Don't feel like you're doing something wrong by not disclosing it; you're not required to tell them. In my opinion, with such keen competition, many ad comms will not want to risk admitting someone that in the past needed to take time off school for a condition that though under control, still exists. Personally, I would think you would make that much more of a compassionate doctor, but that's just me.

    As far as explaining why you took that time off school, only a handful of schools ask to explain any gaps so don't worry about that. From the secondaries that do ask, I remember Albert Einstein, Mount Sinai, George Washington, USC, and Stanford asked to explain any gaps. The 20 other secondaries I had didn't inquire about any gaps.

    Good Luck
     

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