Many doctors are on medication for depression... True?

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Fakesmile

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I recently met a doctor to discuss my recent depression related to how bad things are with respect to coursework. He suggested that I try a medication for depression. I told him I was not open to doing it because of the three reasons:

#1. Once I start the medications, I might get addicted to it and have to depend on it for the rest of my life.
#2. I'm suspicious if the medicine could really help me, because my depression/sadness stems from how I'm not doing as well as I wanted in courses. It's not like I have a genetic/medical imbalance of neurotransmitters in my brain that cause me to be down. And even if the drugs may succeed in making me feel better, it will be temporary because the problems will still be present (at least until this semester is over).
#3. I (and my family, who plays a huge role in my life) have a very large stigma against such anti-depression drugs, as well as against people who use them. Also, even if I agree to try it, my family will be against it.

Then he told me #1 is false because many anti-depression drugs aren't addictive. As for #2, I can still benefit by using them. #3, he knows of many doctors and residents who use such medications to get through hardships in their daily lives. He said that only people in nonmedical area have such a stigma, and people in medical area actually feel it is perfectly normal. I was still hesitant, and then he went on to tell me specifically about his colleague from Johns Hopkins who excelled at what he did as a resident but depended on such medications.

I guess what I want to know is if it's really true that there are doctors who use such medications to help them overcome obstacles/stress in their everyday lives?
 
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I'm not able to answer your question regarding the number of doctors who are on anti-depressants, but I'd like to encourage you to be open to taking them if your doctor thinks they'll be helpful. I was on an anti-depressant to help with anxiety for about 6 months. I was also scared to start taking them because I didn't want to be dependent on a drug for the rest of my life. It wasn't like that at all. I took the drug, started feeling better and less anxious about things beyond my control (like tests after I had taken them), stopped taking it when summer came around, and haven't needed to take them for the past two years. They aren't addictive at all. For me I felt like I could more easily handle stress and not let little things bother me so much. You just get to a point where you've dug yourself into a hole and anti-depressants can help you get out. Good luck with everything!
 

orthomyxo

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No. Many people are on anti-depressants. There are quite of few of them in the top 200 drugs.
 
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#2. I'm suspicious if the medicine could really help me, because my depression/sadness stems from how I'm not doing as well as I wanted in courses. It's not like I have a genetic/medical imbalance of neurotransmitters in my brain that cause me to be down. And even if the drugs may succeed in making me feel better, it will be temporary because the problems will still be present (at least until this semester is over).
If you're second-guessing the advice you got, does that mean you think you better understand the diagnosis and treatment of your condition than the physician does?


#3. I (and my family, who plays a huge role in my life) have a very large stigma against such anti-depression drugs, as well as against people who use them. Also, even if I agree to try it, my family will be against it.
It's more acceptable to you and your family to ignore a treatable medical condition and risk the potential adverse consequences of doing so? That makes no sense.

I wish you well. If you're unhappy, there's no reason not to move forward aggressively. You perhaps should also consider meeting with a mental health professional. There's absolutely no stigma attached to any of this. If anything, there IS a stigma associated with ignoring treatable problems - it's called being friggin' stupid. Act quickly and feel better.
 

Dwindlin

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I don't know any actual numbers off the top of my head but physicians are at higher risk for depression and substance abuse.
 

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If you are going to be a doctor, many of your patients will need anti-depressant medication. How will your stigma affect them? What will you tell them if they present the same concerns that you have? The stigma is there regardless of profession or intended profession. It is true that the medications are not considered addictive. They do have withdrawal effects, however (not the same as addiction - if you start taking anti-depressants and you miss a dose or stop taking them, you might have headaches, dizziness, and flu-like symptoms for a couple or hours or up to a few days). It is also true that anti-depressants don't solve your problems. You need to develop coping skills. Are you more willing to get counseling to help develop coping skills?

My sister is a psychiatrist now, and took anti-depressants when she was in medical school. I am a mental health counselor, and I didn't want to take medication for my depression, and resisted it for years. I had some of the same concerns that you present. I finally started taking them because my anxiety was affecting my work (as in other people, including clients, picked up on my anxiety and felt insecure). Once I started taking meds I had a little more clarity and confidence.
 

ILikeDrugs

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Why did you feel the need to bring up your psych problems with a PCP if you weren't going for meds? What could he have possibly done for you?
 

naus

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I don't know any actual numbers off the top of my head but physicians are at higher risk for depression and substance abuse.
Most of this is probably just better clinical awareness of depression among physicians. A sad layman might be less inclined to think he's depressed.

Similarly with higher suicide rates, doctors and dentists know the best foolproof way to kill themselves and have easier access to the means. I'd be surprised if the suicide attempt rate is much higher also.
 
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Why did you feel the need to bring up your psych problems with a PCP if you weren't going for meds? What could he have possibly done for you?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is prescribed for some psych conditions for specific patients, so the answer is not always drugs.
 

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is prescribed for some psych conditions for specific patients, so the answer is not always drugs.
Then he should have sought out a psychiatrist who would refer him to a PsyD more than likely, a psychologist, or asked for a referral to such a person if necessary. A PCP doesn't have time for cognitive therapy.
 
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Then he should have sought out a psychiatrist who would refer him to a PsyD more than likely, a psychologist, or asked for a referral to such a person if necessary. A PCP doesn't have time for cognitive therapy.
But don't PCP's refer their patients to specialists? After all, patients don't always know what specialist to go to. It's their PCP's job to manage that.
 

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"... or ask for a referral to..." He seems smart enough to know psychiatrists exist. PCPs will manage depression by pharmaceuticals.
 

apumic

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Per the literature, Rx + Tx is the best combination -- far more effective than either alone. OP, as others have suggested, you really should go see a specialist (psychiatrist or doctoral-level psychologist -- preferably a practitioner of CBT) and go from there. Your PCP suggesting meds is probably right but if you're unsure, seek a second opinion from a specialist and/or ask for a referral from your PCP to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
 

Instatewaiter

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I recently met a doctor to discuss my recent depression related to how bad things are with respect to coursework. He suggested that I try a medication for depression. I told him I was not open to doing it because of the three reasons:

#1. Once I start the medications, I might get addicted to it and have to depend on it for the rest of my life.
#2. I'm suspicious if the medicine could really help me, because my depression/sadness stems from how I'm not doing as well as I wanted in courses. It's not like I have a genetic/medical imbalance of neurotransmitters in my brain that cause me to be down. And even if the drugs may succeed in making me feel better, it will be temporary because the problems will still be present (at least until this semester is over).
#3. I (and my family, who plays a huge role in my life) have a very large stigma against such anti-depression drugs, as well as against people who use them. Also, even if I agree to try it, my family will be against it.
THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE

1) unless it is a benzodiazepine (an axiety drug that is not used) your doctor wanted to put you on (klonopin, valium, xanax, ativan) you are not going to get "addicted." First line for depression and for anxiety is a class of drugs call an SSRI or SNRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor/serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) which act by making your synapses have more serotonin +/- NE in them. They are not addictive and many people only need them for a few months. These drugs don't take major effect until a month so it is good to get on them if you need them.

2) It sounds to me like you are feeling too guilty about something you shouldn't be. Ask yourself the following questions:
- is your Sleep affected (early awakening, problems falling asleep)?
- Are you less interested in activities you used to like?
- Do you feel guilty about things you shouldnt or things others wouldn't feel guilty about (sounds like yes)
- Is your energy decreased or are you jittery?
- Is your concentration affected?
- Is your appetite decreased or increased?
- Do you feel slowed down?
- Ever think about suicide?

If you have more than 3 talk to your doctor especially if the last one is positive.

3) It is not your family's business if you need it.

Many doctors are on SSRIs because it helps and the more you know about it, the less of a stigma is attached. Why feel miserable if you don't have to?
 
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Fakesmile

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THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE

1) unless it is a benzodiazepine (an axiety drug that is not used) your doctor wanted to put you on (klonopin, valium, xanax, ativan) you are not going to get "addicted." First line for depression and for anxiety is a class of drugs call an SSRI or SNRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor/serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) which act by making your synapses have more serotonin +/- NE in them. They are not addictive and many people only need them for a few months. These drugs don't take major effect until a month so it is good to get on them if you need them.
My parents are still not open to these drugs, saying it's better to try to overcome things by your own will or any other means not involving the use of drugs. This is because taking drugs of any kind isn't good for your body because it's not a natural way to cope. Is it really true that drugs aren't good for your body, regardless of whether they are addictive or not?

2) It sounds to me like you are feeling too guilty about something you shouldn't be. Ask yourself the following questions:
- is your Sleep affected (early awakening, problems falling asleep)?
- Are you less interested in activities you used to like?
- Do you feel guilty about things you shouldnt or things others wouldn't feel guilty about (sounds like yes)
- Is your energy decreased or are you jittery?
- Is your concentration affected?
- Is your appetite decreased or increased?
- Do you feel slowed down?
- Ever think about suicide?

If you have more than 3 talk to your doctor especially if the last one is positive.
I answered yes to the bold-faced questions.. But doesn't almost everybody who have a lot of commitments or high expectations experience this?

3) It is not your family's business if you need it.

Many doctors are on SSRIs because it helps and the more you know about it, the less of a stigma is attached. Why feel miserable if you don't have to?
But my family has a huge control over me and I'm the youngest in my family. They still have a big stigma against using any kind of drugs for mental health. Also, I can't know for sure if SSRIs will really help me. After all, even if my depression is taken care of, my problems (regrets and obsessions over current semester's mistakes/failures/deficiencies, etc.) will still be there unless they are resolved, which is what I think will be more effective at "curing" my depression than taking drugs (which will only give temporary relief).

I've also read about SSRI on the http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Mental-Health---International/Withdrawal-of-SSRIs-/show/1020652 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor but I'm concerned that it has some really bad effects and criticisms.
 
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vasca

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Fakesmile, if you're over age 18 you're considered to be an adult in most countries and therefore your parents technically can't have any legal power to prevent you from taking meds prescribed by your physician. So what if you're the youngest, I'm the youngest sibling as well. In Mexico it's not unusual to see families of 7 or 8 kids (I've seen families of over 17 kids mostly kids already in their 40's as the younger generations don't have as many kids).

Plus, if you're an adult a doctor legally can't disclose why he's treating you and for what reason unless you have a disease that is a risk to yourself and others (HIV positive having unsafe sex with people that don't know you have the virus or going to seriously attempt suicide). Your parents legally can't know what treatment you're in. Plus they obviously sound like their only source of noledge of medicine is what they see on Good Morning America so why believe them more than someone that actually went to med school and knows pathology, psychology, pharmachology, physiology, anatomy, etc...

SSRIs aren't addictive and most people tolerate them pretty well. I know one doctor that takes an SSRI on occasion because he lives really far away from his family and feels lonely (I understand because I'm on the same boat but at least his family visits him sometimes and I never get any visits or phonecalls). However if doctors take antidepressants they mostly keep it to themselves and don't yell to the world those things.

I've heard heard rumors that some of the top hospitals in Mexico with the most coveted residency slots are so malignant that half of the residents are on SSRIs. I wouldn't be surprised if the rumors are true.
 

Instatewaiter

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My parents are still not open to these drugs, saying it's better to try to overcome things by your own will or any other means not involving the use of drugs. This is because taking drugs of any kind isn't good for your body because it's not a natural way to cope. Is it really true that drugs aren't good for your body, regardless of whether they are addictive or not?
Well, they make people feel better and have less anxiety. For the most part they have minimal side effects like headaches, abdominal discomfort and changes in sleep. So in terms of bad for your body, I would vote not and I regularly put my patients on them. However, this is really a conversation you should have with your doctor.

I answered yes to the bold-faced questions.. But doesn't almost everybody who have a lot of commitments or high expectations experience this?
NO

These symptoms are NOT something everybody who has a lot of commitments or high expectations should feel unless they are depressed. I would very, very highly recommend you talk to your doctor.

This thread is bordering on medical advice. You should really talk to your doctor for now.
 
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LizzyM

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Would your parents object to an oral drug for type II diabetes aimed at making the chemicals in your body more available to do their job if the alternative was high blood sugar and the long term risks that go along with that? Would they be opposed to a treatment for Parkinson's disease that replaces what is not being produced naturally by the body? Why is what you are suffering from different?

If you have a chemical imbalance that is giving you symptoms, and there is a treatment that might work to moderate or eliminate those symptoms, why not try it?

Is there someone who can talk to your parents about why it is important for you to take medication for your symptoms?
 

Instatewaiter

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Do not do something because your non-medically trained family prefers it. Listen to your doc. If you need meds, take meds. If you ignore the depression it will get worse. Trust me. Dont follow a path that may lead to permanent harm of yourself and/or those you love. Seek professional help and follow it. Good luck.
 
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All that you need to know (regarding the actual implications of using antidepressants) has been answered by Instatewaiter.

I'm only going to acknowledge your own personal believes regarding the matter.

Antidepressants help. It's not a trick, it's not a placebo; there is an actual chemistry to antidepressants. Now, I've at least three different threads from you regarding this matter. You have a choice: You can drown in a pool of self pity, or you could do something for yourself. If your depression continues, you may not have that bond with your family that you have now. (I'm speaking from experience on this one). I understand that family can often become a dominating factor in our lives, but you need to think and do for yourself.

Also, if you are so strongly against using antidepressants, why don't you consider some sort of counseling?
 

Dianyla

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#2. I'm suspicious if the medicine could really help me, because my depression/sadness stems from how I'm not doing as well as I wanted in courses. It's not like I have a genetic/medical imbalance of neurotransmitters in my brain that cause me to be down. And even if the drugs may succeed in making me feel better, it will be temporary because the problems will still be present (at least until this semester is over).
This in particular from your post caught my eye. I had undiagnosed ADHD until the age of 31. When I would express frustration to other people about how I was upset with myself for constantly staying up too late, oversleeping, procrastinating, missing deadlines, cramming, and not fulfilling my potential the #1 thing they all said to me was "Hmm, you sound depressed..." The #2 thing they always said was "You're just being too Type A/perfectionist/hard on yourself". Neither of these fit. I don't see how wanting be able to get up in time to reliably attend a 9am class makes me an obsessive overachiever. :rolleyes:

I knew that I was not depressed or sad, and I know that depression wasn't what was causing me to manage my life so poorly. I was however very frustrated and unhappy with myself for not having enough willpower to change behaviors that I knew were unhealthy and endangering my job and education. That sense of frustration and self-judgment can sound like depression when expressed to other people, so that's the thing they'd always hone in on.

Anyways, if any of this resonates with you I recommend you talk to someone about ADHD. And please reconsider your stance on "all medication is evil". No matter how many times I tried to change my habits, establish better sleep hygiene, and procrastinate less... I just couldn't do this by sheer willpower alone. You might not have a neurotransmitter imbalance that makes you feel sad, but you might have one that reduces your brain's ability to self-govern and resist impulse and distraction.
 
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Fakesmile

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Also, if you are so strongly against using antidepressants, why don't you consider some sort of counseling?
I've met like four counsellors already, and as much as I hate saying this, all they did is just wasting my time and getting me nowhere.

Would your parents object to an oral drug for type II diabetes aimed at making the chemicals in your body more available to do their job if the alternative was high blood sugar and the long term risks that go along with that? Would they be opposed to a treatment for Parkinson's disease that replaces what is not being produced naturally by the body? Why is what you are suffering from different?

If you have a chemical imbalance that is giving you symptoms, and there is a treatment that might work to moderate or eliminate those symptoms, why not try it?

Is there someone who can talk to your parents about why it is important for you to take medication for your symptoms?
My family is normally fine with my getting treatment or drugs for diseases that are not mentally related. This may be because, in addition to stigma itself, it's not as easy to know if you really have depression. i.e. No medical assessment can be done other than merely talking with doctors, to really indicate that a chemical imbalance in my brain is why I'm depressed; it would be helpful if there was a way to know I really have a chemical imbalance, just as there is a more accurate way to diagnose cold, cancer, diabetes, etc. That way, I'd be able to decide to get treatment with more trust and assurance that I really need the drugs.

This in particular from your post caught my eye. I had undiagnosed ADHD until the age of 31. When I would express frustration to other people about how I was upset with myself for constantly staying up too late, oversleeping, procrastinating, missing deadlines, cramming, and not fulfilling my potential the #1 thing they all said to me was "Hmm, you sound depressed..." The #2 thing they always said was "You're just being too Type A/perfectionist/hard on yourself". Neither of these fit. I don't see how wanting be able to get up in time to reliably attend a 9am class makes me an obsessive overachiever. :rolleyes:

I knew that I was not depressed or sad, and I know that depression wasn't what was causing me to manage my life so poorly. I was however very frustrated and unhappy with myself for not having enough willpower to change behaviors that I knew were unhealthy and endangering my job and education. That sense of frustration and self-judgment can sound like depression when expressed to other people, so that's the thing they'd always hone in on.

Anyways, if any of this resonates with you I recommend you talk to someone about ADHD. And please reconsider your stance on "all medication is evil". No matter how many times I tried to change my habits, establish better sleep hygiene, and procrastinate less... I just couldn't do this by sheer willpower alone. You might not have a neurotransmitter imbalance that makes you feel sad, but you might have one that reduces your brain's ability to self-govern and resist impulse and distraction.
I will definitely look into ADHD. It's really frustrating that, for many mental health-realted diseases compared to non-mentally related (eg. stroke, cancer, diabetes, indigestion problem, etc.), there is usually not an accurate diagnostic tool or method to determine if you really have certain mental disease. And I've heard of horror stories where people wasted so much time by going from one psychiatrist or drug to next without much progress/improvement on their problems.
 
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Algophiliac

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I've met like four counsellors already, and as much as I hate saying this, all they did is just wasting my time and getting me nowhere.
Honestly, sometimes it takes a while to get someone who you click with perfectly, so I would say--please keep trying.

It's really frustrating that, for many mental health-realted diseases compared to non-mentally related (eg. stroke, cancer, diabetes, indigestion problem, etc.), there is usually not an accurate diagnostic tool or method to determine if you really have certain mental disease.
I agree with this, and I think something should be done about it. I realize actual tests are more expensive, but if you're planning to mess with the actual chemical makeup of the brain, you should know it's definitely upset first.

But if you've tried everything, and still nothing works, then even medication is way better than constant struggles with your life.
 
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Fakesmile

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Honestly, sometimes it takes a while to get someone who you click with perfectly, so I would say--please keep trying.
As I've said already:
I've heard of horror stories where people wasted so much time by going from one psychiatrist or drug to next without much progress/improvement on their problems.
I wouldn't want to end up just like one of those people. It may be easy to say to just keep trying to find the counsellor who actually knows what s/he is talking about, but then, the whole process of arranging a meeting and attending a meeting with a counsellor is quite a hassle. I'm just fed up with the unhelpfulness of counselling. In fact, what I had in my mind after meeting my fourth counsellor was that I will never ever consult a counsellor again.
 

Dianyla

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My family is normally fine with my getting treatment or drugs for diseases that are not mentally related. This may be because, in addition to stigma itself, it's not as easy to know if you really have depression. i.e. No medical assessment can be done other than merely talking with doctors, to really indicate that a chemical imbalance in my brain is why I'm depressed; it would be helpful if there was a way to know I really have a chemical imbalance, just as there is a more accurate way to diagnose cold, cancer, diabetes, etc. That way, I'd be able to decide to get treatment with more trust and assurance that I really need the drugs.
There are plenty of non-mental health conditions that are diagnosed as imperfectly, and involve a certain amount of trial and error in their treatment. Wouldn't it be nice it we just a little test for everything, to "prove" that a disease is real? :rolleyes:

And even when we do have proof, that doesn't mean that treatment is so straightforward. People respond differently to different medications. Especially in the realm of mental health, there is a big frustration at how little the drugs alone actually do. Prozac doesn't automatically give you better taste in dating that will lead to less emotional turmoil in your life. Ritalin doesn't automatically confer better time management and life habits.

You still have to do most of the work yourself, the medications just lower the barriers that make it hard to change. Many diagnoses are only really confirmed in retrospect, if the condition seems to respond to the traditional therapy. In other words, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. :)
 

Algophiliac

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I wouldn't want to end up just like one of those people. It may be easy to say to just keep trying to find the counsellor who actually knows what s/he is talking about, but then, the whole process of arranging a meeting and attending a meeting with a counsellor is quite a hassle. I'm just fed up with the unhelpfulness of counselling. In fact, what I had in my mind after meeting my fourth counsellor was that I will never ever consult a counsellor again.
What horror stories have you heard about counselors? That seems a little intense, no? Drugs I can understand, but horror stories with counselors? Hmm.

Have you tried counselors that have been recommended in the past by others? Maybe search for those that seem to fit your personality type. Either way, drugs or no drugs, there is no magic fix, and you will have to work through your issues one way or another. Counselors can make this easier...and you don't have to get the drug-prescribing kind, either.
 
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You should try to get a referral to a psychiatrist if you want to explore other treatment options, whatever they might be. The Health centers at most universities also usually offer counseling on some level.

Bearing in mind that this is just a discussion of the scientific literature, for what its worth, "chemical imbalance" is an oversimplification of the hypothesized causes of major depression. For example, in animal models chronic stress and isolation have been shown to cause significant physiological changes at the neuronal level*. External environment plays an role in activity of the nervous and endocrine systems. At this point, you should not look at depression as a "chemical imbalance" you either inherit or don't inherit.

*Yang C, Wang G, Wang H, Lieu Z, Wang X. 2009. Cytoskeletal alterations in rat hippocampus following chronic unpredictable mild stress and re-exposure to acute and chronic unpredictable stress. Behavioural Brain Research. 205: 518-524.
 
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Fakesmile

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I've just showed this thread to my parents and now they are not as resistant to my returning to hospital for treatment. My concern now is that if I withdraw from this semester, I'll have 5 Ws in one semester.
Withdraw. Explain when it comes time to apply that you had an exacerbation of a chronic condition (or just say that you developed a severe condition) that required hospitalization to bring under control. You will (God willing) be able to say that the condition has been well controlled since then and that you are not anticipating further problems but that you have come to understand that good self-care and guidance from your physician are important to your continued well being.

You are under no obligation to disclose what your chronic condition is (it could be diabetes or Crohn's disease or any number of things) and your medical records are not open to adcoms.

The important part is to get treatment.

Two people I know well have a semester of Ws due to accidents resulting in long hospitalizations. It is more common than you might imagine.
Is your medical records really not open to adcoms? I'm concerned because I read or heard that you need to submit your medical history for applying to jobs, etc., if not for med school application. But since it's coming from you, Lizzy, I suppose what you said is true. But then does that make what I read inaccurate? I'd like a reassurance on this.

Also, I heard that one or two occasional Ws in your early undergrad years (freshman or sophomore) are okay, but I'm in my senior year and I've never had a single W before. So how would 5 Ws in one semester affect my application? If asked for an explanation on application or interview, I will mention that my chronic condition worsened, as Lizzy advised.

To repeat my background, I have a 3.69 GPA with horrible 1st and 2nd years, and I've been having an upward trend since then. So the 5 Ws would put a break on this upward trend and I'm concerned if this would mar my otherwise good transcript. I know it'll be okay as long as there is a legitimate reason, but I'm not sure if "exacerbation of a chronic condition" will really be a legitimate enough reason. I'm also not sure how to respond if interviewers asked specifically about the chronic condition. Of course, I'm aware that you have the right to not disclose it if you don't want to, but wouldn't the interviewers unconsciously (?) take points off for that?
 
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Why did you feel the need to bring up your psych problems with a PCP if you weren't going for meds? What could he have possibly done for you?
Then he should have sought out a psychiatrist who would refer him to a PsyD more than likely, a psychologist, or asked for a referral to such a person if necessary. A PCP doesn't have time for cognitive therapy.
1) Most psychiatrists don't do CBT either. So, telling the OP that he "should have" gone straight to a psychiatrist doesn't make any sense either. He might as well have just gone straight to a psychologist.

2) Most insurance plans do not allow you to just "go see" a psychiatrist or a psychologist. A referral from a PCP (i.e. a general pediatrician, a general IM, or an FP) is required.

As a PCP, I refer a LOT of people to psychology, and much fewer to psychiatry. Most people need behavior techniques, which I can start discussing with them, but then they need a psychologist to discuss the finer details.

Is your medical records really not open to adcoms? I'm concerned because I read or heard that you need to submit your medical history for applying to jobs, etc., if not for med school application. But since it's coming from you, Lizzy, I suppose what you said is true. But then does that make what I read inaccurate? I'd like a reassurance on this.
I think that there is a required medical form, that involves self-reporting of what chronic conditions you may have.

That being said, I would be shocked to hear of any med school adcom that would reject your application solely for the fact that you were, at one point, on an anti-depressant. A lot of adults, who work in professional environments, have had to be on an anti-depressant at one point or another. There are probably people on the adcom who have had to take medication for depression or anxiety. At least you recognized that you weren't feeling right, emotionally, sought help, and did something about it. It's better than the alternative, which is to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, sex, or food (which a LOT of patients do).
 
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Fakesmile

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I think that there is a required medical form, that involves self-reporting of what chronic conditions you may have.

That being said, I would be shocked to hear of any med school adcom that would reject your application solely for the fact that you were, at one point, on an anti-depressant. A lot of adults, who work in professional environments, have had to be on an anti-depressant at one point or another. There are probably people on the adcom who have had to take medication for depression or anxiety. At least you recognized that you weren't feeling right, emotionally, sought help, and did something about it. It's better than the alternative, which is to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, sex, or food (which a LOT of patients do).
Thank you for the post, smq. What I'm actually concerned is not whether the adcoms will reject me just because of this (which seems like common sense), but rather this will have a negative effect on my application. My guess is that it will. Eg. Of two applicants with exactly the same credentials, the adcoms will likely choose one with no medical history.
 

Dianyla

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Of two applicants with exactly the same credentials, the adcoms will likely choose one with no medical history.
Not necessarily. Having experienced the vulnerability of serious medical conditions increases the likelihood that you will feel more empathy for patients.
 
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Not necessarily. Having experienced the vulnerability of serious medical conditions increases the likelihood that you will feel more empathy for patients.
That by itself won't necessarily increase the likelihood of your acceptance, though. It will depend on how you do the explaining in the application and during the interview, which I think won't be easy to do. In saying that the one with no medical history will be favored, I was assuming a case where no such mature/intelligent explanation was given by the one with medical history (Sorry, I should've been more clear).

Anyway, I would like Lizzy to kindly respond to my other concern that I posted above:
I heard that one or two occasional Ws in your early undergrad years (freshman or sophomore) are okay, but I'm in my senior year and I've never had a single W before. So how would 5 Ws in one semester affect my application? If asked for an explanation on application or interview, I will mention that my chronic condition worsened, as Lizzy advised.

To repeat my background, I have a 3.69 GPA with horrible 1st and 2nd years, and I've been having an upward trend since then. So the 5 Ws would put a break on this upward trend and I'm concerned if this would mar my otherwise good transcript. I know it'll be okay as long as there is a legitimate reason, but I'm not sure if "exacerbation of a chronic condition" will really be a legitimate enough reason. I'm also not sure how to respond if interviewers asked specifically about the chronic condition. Of course, I'm aware that you have the right to not disclose it if you don't want to, but wouldn't the interviewers unconsciously (?) take points off for that?
 
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LizzyM

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I can say with absolute certainty that no self-reported medical history is required during the admission process. I'd like to hear from anyone who has had a different experience at any US med school. If you are asked to provide a medical history, it will be part of your file in the student health office, not in admissions.

A semester of Ws will not affect your gpa in any way and will not be visible on the chart of gpa by year. Both the numerator and denominator are zero.

I know two guys who ended up with a semester of Ws due to major trauma; it is not uncommon.
 
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May I suggest a book that's been shown to be as if not more effective than taking anti-depressants?

Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns on Amazon or Half.com

I took anti-depressants for several years. Addiction was never the issue; it was the feeling of numbness, or the lack of feeling, really: being a stranger to one's self. Anti-depressants don't resolve underlying cognitive or self-image issues. They're just pills. What they do is allow folks suffocating in despair to stay above the water, to taste a bit of peace of mind they might've already forgotten, to breathe a little so they can work on their issues with a counselor with fewer obstacles.
 
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Dec 27, 2009
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http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20080227/antidepressants-no-better-than-placebo

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/99356.php
"The chemical imbalance theory, which was formulated in the 1960s, was based on the observation that mood could be artificially altered with drugs, rather than direct observation of any chemical imbalances," Leo said. "Since then there has been no direct evidence to confirm the theory and a significant number of findings cast doubt on the theory."

In my opinion you shouldn't go on them, it's not worth the risk of the side effects they can do . Sometimes there's legitimate reasons to be depressed in life( despite what big pharma says), it doesn't necessarily mean you have a chemical balance. I think if you absolutely feel you need to go on it then do it while in therapy and eventually wean off. But definitely go into therapy, it actually gets to the problem and the best long term solution instead of just masking your issues. It's not something that's quick though, it's more like at least a few months thing. Either way good luck.
 
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I'm not able to answer your question regarding the number of doctors who are on anti-depressants, but I'd like to encourage you to be open to taking them if your doctor thinks they'll be helpful. I was on an anti-depressant to help with anxiety for about 6 months. I was also scared to start taking them because I didn't want to be dependent on a drug for the rest of my life. It wasn't like that at all. I took the drug, started feeling better and less anxious about things beyond my control (like tests after I had taken them), stopped taking it when summer came around, and haven't needed to take them for the past two years. They aren't addictive at all. For me I felt like I could more easily handle stress and not let little things bother me so much. You just get to a point where you've dug yourself into a hole and anti-depressants can help you get out. Good luck with everything!
Depending on the drug and how long you have been on it, you can get really shi*** withdrawals upwards to a month after you stop taking it. May not be true everyone though, just something I have seen second hand and have read about online.
 
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I can say with absolute certainty that no self-reported medical history is required during the admission process. I'd like to hear from anyone who has had a different experience at any US med school. If you are asked to provide a medical history, it will be part of your file in the student health office, not in admissions.

A semester of Ws will not affect your gpa in any way and will not be visible on the chart of gpa by year. Both the numerator and denominator are zero.

I know two guys who ended up with a semester of Ws due to major trauma; it is not uncommon.
I want to make my final decision today. But I'm not sure if what I'm going through (deep depression) is also a major trauma that warrants a withdrawal from the semester. After all, it's not something like a car accident or physical injury. Also, my depression is due not to something that's entirely out of my control but rather at least partly due to my shortcomings. With this said, though, I want to avoid getting a horrible GPA for this semester by withdrawing from every course, and I'm sure that document from the hospital will be enough evidence to allow me to withdraw.

I feel like an idiot for dragging this decision for this long. I hate myself and feel that it would be best if I could just end everything, but I'm scared of suicide so it's never an option for me. Sigh...
 
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Jolie South

is invoking Domo. . .
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This thread has been reported by several members due to the statement by the OP about self-harm. SDN takes such statements seriously and we would like to remind the OP and all posters that SDN should not serve as a place to obtain counseling or other advice regarding significant psychological issues. Anyone who is contemplating harming themselves should immediately seek professional counseling advice, not rely on SDN or other non-professional resources.

Members who have serious concerns about their career and would like to post details more anonymously may do so in the Confidential Consult forum.

At this time, given the nature of the thread and the concerns expressed, the moderation staff of SDN will close this thread.
 
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