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Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2007
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  1. Medical Student
Hey SDN,

Clinical depression runs in my family, and I had bouts with it when I was 14 and 15. It was decided that I should probably go on an anti-depressant to keep the depression from disrupting my life. I had been taking this medication for 5 years, and I almost forgot what it was like be depressed. This past summer I spoke with my doctor and we decided that I might be able to do without the medication. We tapered the dosage down over a couple months time, and a few weeks into the fall semester I wasn't taking it anymore.

I guess I had a more severe withdrawl than most people would from this medication, and I got hit with debilitating depressive episode . I couldn't get out of the bed in the morning, I couldn't go to class, I couldn't socialize normally, my life was in utter disarray.

As soon as I realized what was happening I started taking my medication again, but if any of you know anything about anti-depressants they take 4-6 weeks to start working.

Up until this semester I had a 3.92 GPA, was president of a club I founded, had 2 years of volunteering and clinical exposure, had done a year of research, and I felt I wouldn't have much trouble getting into medical school.

My bad grades were devastating me, and I decided it was better to get all W's than C's. So I was granted a Medical Leave of Absence from my school, and I went home to get my head straight.

My depression was successfully managed with medication for five years, and I am back to my old self again since being back on it. I will probably need to be medicated for the rest of my life, and I have accepted that fact.

My question is, what do you think a semester full of W's caused by depression will do to my chances at getting into medical school. I am worried that as hard as I try to get myself back into the pre-med groove, it won't be enough to allay adcoms fears that I might relapse during medical school. Do you think I should reevaluate my career plans, or stick it out on the pre-med route.

Thanks for your responses.

You're fine. It may come up, and you don't have to get into specifics, just say it was a school approved medical withdrawl. After all, your medical records are private, and admissions will understand that better than most.


Full Member
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Nov 3, 2008
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i havent even applied to med school but that will not effect you in ANY way. i would be honest with them about it tell them the truth(if your comfortable with it) and even if you just say it was a medical leave i still doubt it will hiurt your changes what so ever. with a 3.92 youll be looking at some great schools....good luck
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
I agree that you'll be fine. It was only one semester and the rest of your record is sterling. Schools will want reassurance that the problem is controlled and unlikely to effect you again, and I think you can provide this in good conscience. Definitely stick to the premed route. This experience can only make you a better doctor.


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Jul 31, 2007
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you are very fortunate to have responded to medication (depression runs in my family as well). I wish the best of luck to you.


the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
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  1. Academic Administration
You (and/or your pre-med committee LOR) will need to address the LOA. All that needs to be said is that you had a flare-up of a chronic illness that precluded you from attending classes (no need to be specific - it is none of anyone's business) and that you withdrew on your doctor's advice. The only problem is that you might be asked what you will do if you have a flare-up during medical school and you should be able to address that because it is something that you should think about... that said, treatment for depression is relatively common among medical students and doesn't preclude anyone from being successful in med school.


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7+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2007
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This shouldn't cause a problem. I'm not sure I would want admissions committees to know that about the depression, though. I'm sure they are very understanding but it's something I'd be uncomfortable bringing up.
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