Medical school and mental disorders, are they mutually exclusive?

sweetpeamd09

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2004
146
0
Status
Hi everyone. I am starting this thread b/c I think more people than we could possibly expect are either pre-med or in med. school, etc. with mental disorders of some sort. I'd like this to be a little safe haven for us. :) I found in a previous thread that I'm not the only one who has a DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders) IV diagnosis.

To get the ball rolling:
I am bipolar type II which means I have mania and depression but not to the degree that people with bipolar type I do...To be honest, it is embarrassing some days to have to admit that this is real for me since very few people in my life know--and they know only b/c I told them. I am apparently highly functioning; was a leader on campus, got very good grades, etc. etc. (I graduated last year)...so I guess "I pulled the wool over their eyes" so to speak. The funniest part of all this is that at my Cornell and Einstein interviews I was interviewed by psychiatrists. HAHA! I wonder if they with their expertise figured me out!?!?

I like to sometimes rationalize that I am just perky...and that my racing thoughts aren't hypomania and that my low spots are well-deserved and the average person would be depressed over it. The road to self-acceptance is long and pitted...but I'm working on it (aren't we all?).

I am hoping that this thread will be a place for people (those w/ and w/o a psych. disorder) to vent, question, and tell how they cope... :p
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
Glad to meet you sweetpeamd
This is a very important thread!!
im not in med school yet, im in an Msc program in molecular biology, did very well in college and was offered this full scholarship. I also teach undergrad classes. My experiance with psych issues hit me when i began college away from home, and honistly is what prevented me from going straight to medical school .......actually the more i realize now the more i realize it was my fears that kept me from it, but i had some rough times and still do. I guess im still learning to cope with it, because its all one can do. The hardest part for me was anticipating what it was going to do to my life and my future. I was at one point before my experiances one of those fools who thought psychiatry and all those involved in it were nuts, and it was all made up ( i used to read my dads psych text books from when he was in med school, I can even remember us laughing with each other when he used to tell me about his psych rotation and how crazy it was.......also differant times). I truely have gaind a great understanding of how these people feel when they feel that they have no control over their problem. I still deal with it every day, and still wonder how i will accomplish the things i always wanted to feeling differant now. IM sure i some how will, i hope. I feel i was put on this earth to be of service to people as a physician. So i still very much worry if i can do med school........but i have too its all i have ever wanted.And God does not give us anything we can not handle. I feel in some ways im finding a place for it in my life, but still fear it. I guess i too have been high functioning ...graduated with a 3.8, and have a current graduate gpa of 3.84, aM (well was) very athlethic, capt. of my lacrosse team...now with being a grad student no more sports, but looking for an adult league......well anyway, keep up the fight, life is not easy, and i truely think that support like this will work better then any psych medication or at least it has for me, so thankyou for being open and honest. This has made me realize that people from all walks of life are effected by this.....Trust me if you saw me you would never guess in a million years i was dealing with this. I hope this encourages more people to post their experiances, and how they deal with it.........and lets keep in touch!!!!!!, I think we can very much benefit from eachother

by the way i have been dealing with depression .....sorry , just realized i did not post it
 

the negative 1

Bovie to "war crimes" please
15+ Year Member
Aug 14, 2004
1,102
40
37
Charm City
Status
Attending Physician
I agree that the mental health of physicians and medical students is an important subject. For those who oversee decisions affecting the outcome of people's health, it is essential that they learn to recognize and attend to their own health issues. Unfortunately, even within the medical community, stigmas related to mental illness continue to persist. Two good articles on this subject are posted below.

Helping Physicians in Training to Care for Themselves
Medical Students' Decisions to Seek Treatment for Depression

I suffer from dysthymia, a type of mild, constant depression, that went undiagnosed for almost 12 years. It was only after suffering through two bouts of major depression in three years that I finally sought help and learned why I had felt so bad for so many years. But the damage was done to my academic career and social life. I have been working to correct my mistakes after a year of treatment though the hardest part is separating myself from a disease that has dominated my life.

Currently, I am preparing to reapply to medical school. The greatest threat I found to my previous application was my illness. Upon reviewing my failed applications, I realized I had been so worried about masking the downfalls in my past that I completely obscured my accomplishments and came off looking weak and indecisive. Thankfully, I have built up a great support network of friends and colleagues this past year who are helping me with my new application.

The best advice I ever received was from a professor and close confidante of mine. She told me that no matter how bad I felt, I could always choose to be happy. At the time, I did not take much stock in her words. But as I learned to manage my depression, I found she was right. Instead of languishing through acts of self-pity and hating myself, I found I could redirect my emotions and stop falling into the cycle of depression.

I am glad this thread was started and hope it encourages more people to think about this topic in the context of medical education.
 

worriedwell

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2005
239
1
Status
4th year med student going into psychiatry...great thread here...just wanted to let you know that you are not even close to alone, 20% of people will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime in some form or another. Some worse than others, some needing medication, some needing therapy, and all needing some support network.

unfortunately, stigma still exists, largely out of fear of the unknown and the idea that "crazy" people are so different than high functioning people. in fact, everybody has varying degrees of crazy (some in mental health are offended by the term crazy, but I embrace it). In fact, regarding bipolar illness, some of the most productive and brilliant people in the world suffer from bipolar illness. Ted Turner does, and he has done quite well for himself. In addition, some believe there is a fine line between what is deemed mental illness and creative genious.

medical school certainly has its fair share of people who suffer from mental illness and some might even argue that the anxiety/obsessive illnesses as well as depression are overrepresented in medical school compared to the general population. but that is not backed up empirically, just speculation here. anyway, med school and mental illness are certainly not mutually exclusive. who knows, they might even be mutually inclusive!

keep fighting the good fight,
worriedwell
 

doc05

2K Member
15+ Year Member
May 24, 2003
3,517
1,435
U.S.A.
Visit site
Status
when you apply for a medical license, they will ask about mental/psychiatric disorders, health problems, medications you are on that MIGHT affect your function. obviously BPD is a serious diagnosis, and you should speak with your psychiatrist about how it might affect you down the road. Think about it: if your problem becomes uncontrolled, the potential ramifications could be rather serious, given that you will have patients of your own to consider. good luck.
 

criminallyinane

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2005
616
0
Status
doc05 said:
when you apply for a medical license, they will ask about mental/psychiatric disorders, health problems, medications you are on that MIGHT affect your function. obviously BPD is a serious diagnosis, and you should speak with your psychiatrist about how it might affect you down the road. Think about it: if your problem becomes uncontrolled, the potential ramifications could be rather serious, given that you will have patients of your own to consider. good luck.
This doesn't strike me as a supportive post in what is supposed to be a supportive thread, so perhaps it is not the place. People with mental illness are not less equipped to care for themselves and maintain their health than people with physical illness.
 

NeuroDO

Neuro, D.O.
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2005
61
0
37
New Haven, CT
Status
Having a mental illness gives you a unique ability to empathize with your patients. In many ways, it can be an advantage, especially if you chose to work with a mentally ill population.

Bipolar Disorder can be successfully treated. Provided you're stable before you start medical school and have a support system in place to help you deal with the stress of medical school, you should be fine.

I think its important for students with a mental illness who are starting medical school to find a psychiatrist and therapist before moving, that way should a problem occur, you'll already have a support system in place to deal with it.

You'll be fine, and the more people who are up front about their mental illness the most accepting the medical community will become of having colleauges with mental illnesses.

I was also dysthymic for, oh, maybe 15 years with a few major depressive episodes thrown in periodically. Treatment works, in my case massive psychotherapy, and at this point I view this experience as something that will untimately make me a better physician.
 

Argante

Still Searching
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2005
17
0
Earth
Status
It is certainly not uncommon for med students to have depression. If a person's at all predisposed, med school is more than enough to bring it out. Personally, I have depression and ADHD, but I'm now a 4th year and I've matched somewhere, so obviously I've done ok.

I don't think mental illness should preclude anyone from going to medical school or being a doctor, provided it's well controlled. If you're treated effectively and have regular follow-up, there's no reason you can't do well. Better, in fact, than those that, get a major depressive episode during school because they were previously undiagnosed.
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
doc05 said:
when you apply for a medical license, they will ask about mental/psychiatric disorders, health problems, medications you are on that MIGHT affect your function. obviously BPD is a serious diagnosis, and you should speak with your psychiatrist about how it might affect you down the road. Think about it: if your problem becomes uncontrolled, the potential ramifications could be rather serious, given that you will have patients of your own to consider. good luck.

wrong thread my friend..........we dont care about that
 

sunnyjohn

Got Mustard?
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2005
2,697
10
In a world all my own.
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Great thread :thumbup:

I've suffered from depression. It's great to know that it won't keep you back if you work hard.

Agape
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
to all,,,,,

although treated successfully, is it still a constant up hill battle every day..
very curious to try to understand "successful tx"
 

MSHell

Deranged User
10+ Year Member
Nov 29, 2004
293
3
Status
Resident [Any Field]
doc05 said:
when you apply for a medical license, they will ask about mental/psychiatric disorders, health problems, medications you are on that MIGHT affect your function. obviously BPD is a serious diagnosis, and you should speak with your psychiatrist about how it might affect you down the road. Think about it: if your problem becomes uncontrolled, the potential ramifications could be rather serious, given that you will have patients of your own to consider. good luck.
I definitely agree with this. One should know their options, all of them, so that they can make an informed choice. I have a medical condition that will prevent me from going into certain specialties. I am glad I know this now (MS1) and not when I have my heart set on a specialty I will never be allowed to practice.

All types of people are in medical school and I encourage you to pursue your goal.
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
doc05 said:
http://www.medbd.ca.gov/Form_07A-100.pdf

see page 3, question 22. You need to be realistic about this, and consider your future patients. Good luck.
"WITH RESIONABLE SKILL AND SAFETY" read it carefully
your point is well taken, and could be understood in CERTAIN situitations (I.e Hospitalizations, and not being able to function all of which most people who have been strong enough to complete the rigors of medicine, have not experianced, with the exception of a few im sure)

HOWEVER if one begins to look at their limitations before setting out to accomplish somthing as hard as medicine they will never accomplish it....as in most things in life people should cross that bridge when they get to it. I personally feel that i can successfully practice in any field of medicine and be dam good at it, and im sure most feel the same way as i .....if we start telling ourselves what we cant do im sure most people would not make it past the first day of med school....this goes with anything in life.
I am also posative that anyone who has experianced any type of mental issues in the medical field has thought about this to the point where it may have made them feel inadequate and unfit which probably made them feel worse about things

This is a support thread for people who want to accomplish their dreams!!!!! AND MOST MENTAL/PHYSICAL BARRIERS WILL NOT STOP THEM so please keep those posts for another forum, its not what this thread is for

I encourage any people out there who have delt with physical ilness to post here as well, we can all learn from one anothers experiances

God Bless
 

psychedoc2b

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2004
164
0
Status
Hi,

I have schizoaffective disorder and have matched into psychiatry. I must have done something right. I encourage you to believe in yourselves and never listen to the negative stereotypical criticisms people have about the mentally ill. I think what kept me going is that given my experiences with my illness I have an insight that others who have not experienced a serious illness do not have. I believe if someone like me can get through medical school, then people with other mental illnesses can also. Don't ever give up no matter what others may say to you because of your illness and how difficult medical school becomes. Medical school is difficult for everybody. Our challenges are just different. I think the best advice I can give is to do the best with what God has given you. I wish you the best of luck with your endeavors and careers!! :thumbup:

psychedoc2b
 

randomstudent

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2005
6
0
mudfud.blogspot.com
Status
I entered a md/phd program in the fall, was diagnosed with bipolar type 2 in the winter, after basically scoring low enough to fail 2 classes (but I had a B in the others!) Anyway, my md/phd program just voted to dismiss me from the program, out of fears that I wouldn't be able to handle it, even with proper treatment, etc. etc.

Hopefully I can transfer into the medical school and start as a med student next year, but I may be screwed. Its just something to keep in mind because failure due to a mental illness rather than failure due to not being able to handle the material is generally thought of and handled differently by administrators.
 

ddmo

BMF
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2003
1,027
5
Visit site
Status
doc05 said:
when you apply for a medical license, they will ask about mental/psychiatric disorders, health problems, medications you are on that MIGHT affect your function. obviously BPD is a serious diagnosis, and you should speak with your psychiatrist about how it might affect you down the road. Think about it: if your problem becomes uncontrolled, the potential ramifications could be rather serious, given that you will have patients of your own to consider. good luck.

I agree Doc
:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

Doc 2b

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 19, 2004
594
1
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Just read an upcoming JAMA abstract the other day about this very issue.
 

closertofine

Emerging from hibernation
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 15, 2002
3,568
4
Visit site
Status
Medical Student
doc05 said:
http://www.medbd.ca.gov/Form_07A-100.pdf

see page 3, question 22. You need to be realistic about this, and consider your future patients. Good luck.
hadn't seen that before...but isn't the question limited to conditions that *currently* limit your ability to practice? It seems like they couldn't withhold a license because a person had once been hospitalized...or would that person (e.g. someone who was doing better but had been hospitalized years ago) still have to answer "yes" to that question? Just curious...sorry if a little off-topic.
 

doc05

2K Member
15+ Year Member
May 24, 2003
3,517
1,435
U.S.A.
Visit site
Status
closertofine said:
hadn't seen that before...but isn't the question limited to conditions that *currently* limit your ability to practice?
well, unless psychiatric medicine grows by leaps and bounds and there is suddenly a CURE for bpd and other disorders, one always has the condition.

It seems like they couldn't withhold a license because a person had once been hospitalized...or would that person (e.g. someone who was doing better but had been hospitalized years ago) still have to answer "yes" to that question? Just curious...sorry if a little off-topic.
yes, they could deny a license because of history of hospitalization; this isn't discrimination but rather a matter of public safety. How likely is this to happen? Don't know, but it is definitely possible.

and I suggest you answer "yes," even if it is in the distant past, and you are currently "stable." otherwise you're not being entirely honest.

you should also talk to your psychiatrist about this.
 

bigfrank

SDN Donor
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2002
2,067
8
E-USA
Visit site
Status
I've been told that I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but I'm sure it's just because they are all jealous of me, me me!!!!!!!!!!!

;)
 
OP
S

sweetpeamd09

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2004
146
0
Status
First of all I just wanted to say that this is awesome. I am the OP and never expected to get quite such a response. I figured I might have to repeatedly bump it to get some action around here. But alas, I was very, very wrong. Thank you to everyone who has posted here with their personal experiences, and those who support us, and those who posted to get us thinking about things we might not want to hear.

Specifically about my situation:
I was misdiagnosed with ADD for about 15 years and fed ritalyn, adderall, etc. until my senior year of hs when I became med. noncompliant. Now I did this b/c I felt anxious as a result of the medication and there were some critical symptoms of ADD that I just did not have. I mean, I have always done well on tests, standardized tests too (except the MCAT ;) )--was always able to sit and get my work done. I was just excessively chatty and inattentive to my parents (long not so pretty history with them) so I was medicated. Now I do not have classic bipolar disorder, the kind that many people think of when they hear it; the kind that Patty Duke (actress who wrote "A Brilliant Madness" re: her struggles with bipolar disorder) had, for example. In her book she tells of her terrible bouts of depression where she couldn't get out of bed...and her mania which caused her to spend money gambling excessively and be promiscuous and sometimes psychotic. Basically during mania, in addition to what I just wrote, people feel exuberant, "on top of the world" like they might be able to do things their ordinarily couldn't. I'm not sure b/c I don't exactly feel that way.

Bipolar type II is characterized by lesser degrees of mania and depression. I am exceptionally emotional and moody (but only it seems when it comes to my personal life---most notably my romantic relationship ;) ). I'll give you that. I'm also incredibly verbose and could talk up a storm and tell you 3 hours of information in 45 mins. (I know this b/c I did this during my consult w/ my new psychiatrist). I was unmedicated for all of college b/c I knew I didn't have ADD and wasn't quite sure what was up. Most of the time I decided that my emotions were merely a part of my personality. I'm bubbly, so what? I'm passionate, so what? MANY days I still rationalize my behaviors as personality characteristics. Denial is a river in Egypt.

I have had many long talks w/ my psychiatrist and therapist as to whether or not this is a good career move for me. It's what I want and it's what I am more than capable of. I think that and so do my mental health professionals. Neither of them think that my disorder will put a damper on my ability to care for my patients. If anything I may end up connecting with them far more deeply than most. If you met me, you could understand that part of me--I am very good at drawing info. from people, making them feel comfortable and know that I am engaged in their conversation. I don't really know what it's like to struggle with something more difficult than what I'm dealing with. Most people just think I'm like a freight train whizzing by, doing things efficiently and faster than most..and that I like to talk. Even people that know me very well have no idea. I realized I needed help when it started to interfere with my relationship. I noticed how variant my moods were depending on what was going on with her (yes, her). My girlfriend suffered from a major depressive episode a year ago and is recuperating from it. I am too...never mind from my own issues. I took a look back at my previous relationship w/ my ex-bf and for 5 years I realized that I had felt the same. That it was a rollercoaster of emotion...but only with him, at least primarily. I feel badly that I did not get treatment...b/c I sort of feel like I shafted him and he got a pretty sucky part of me. At the same time, I feel shafted by my parents who crammed ritalyn down my throat and by my mental health professional not listening to how I felt. Instead I always felt as if my parents were tattling on me b/c they went in b4 me. "Sweetpea" forgot to take her laundry out of the wash again today...etc., etc. Seriously, that's what the ritalyn was supposed to "cure"...me being a teenager. And a very depressed teen at that. I spent all of hs writing poetry, reading, and crying in my room thinking of how awful a person I was in many ways. And yet my dr. didn't seem to care..even though I tried to clue her in.

I got through my 4 years of undergrad. rather well in many ways, I was a good student, an RA, the chairperson of the Judical Board and Residence Hall Council, on the Exec. Bd. of SGA, interned at NIH and Princeton, worked three part time jobs (at least) b/c I paid for school by myself b/c my parents didn't think I was worth it (they more than had the $$)... But at home at night I was still hurting, even though I was bright and chipper for 9:30 am Immuno. (rapid cycling anyone??). I guess my pt. is that many of us who are med. school bound or are already in have passed the many milestones we needed to regardless of our mental struggles. I'm sure a few haven't quite, but I imagine most have. I'm trying not to be totally defensive. I guess I was lucky b/c my disorder wasn't so crippling w/o meds that I suffered academically or professionally---only socially. My psychiatrist told me I can make the choice of taking meds or of not. But, she would prefer that I do b/c she thinks I am highly treatable and doesn't want to see me crumble after all of this work when I enter med. school this August (and maybe the fact that she'd be out the $296/half hour too?). :cool:

This is the longest post in the whole world...so sorry guys. Did I mention I'm verbose? :laugh:
 

bigfrank

SDN Donor
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2002
2,067
8
E-USA
Visit site
Status
Flight of ideas.....
 
OP
S

sweetpeamd09

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2004
146
0
Status
worriedwell said:
4th year med student going into psychiatry...great thread here...just wanted to let you know that you are not even close to alone, 20% of people will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime in some form or another. Some worse than others, some needing medication, some needing therapy, and all needing some support network.

unfortunately, stigma still exists, largely out of fear of the unknown and the idea that "crazy" people are so different than high functioning people. in fact, everybody has varying degrees of crazy (some in mental health are offended by the term crazy, but I embrace it). In fact, regarding bipolar illness, some of the most productive and brilliant people in the world suffer from bipolar illness. Ted Turner does, and he has done quite well for himself. In addition, some believe there is a fine line between what is deemed mental illness and creative genious.

medical school certainly has its fair share of people who suffer from mental illness and some might even argue that the anxiety/obsessive illnesses as well as depression are overrepresented in medical school compared to the general population. but that is not backed up empirically, just speculation here. anyway, med school and mental illness are certainly not mutually exclusive. who knows, they might even be mutually inclusive!

keep fighting the good fight,
worriedwell
I am not a happy camper right now (but not flipping out... hehe) but I just typed this whole thing about famous people with bipolar disorder...

so here's the site: http://bipolar.about.com/cs/celebs/a/bl_celebrities.htm

Robin Williams, Patty Duke, Jean-Claude VanDamme, Ben Stiller, Axl Rose, you get my point

I don't want this just to be about bipolar disorder (I don't want anyone to think that's all I care about), so if you know other interesting stuff re: other disorders please post, love to hear it.
 
OP
S

sweetpeamd09

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2004
146
0
Status
As per http://www.pendulum.org/information/information_famous_luni.html

These people have said publicly that they have had one or more episodes of unipolar depression:

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
Rona Barrett, entertainment reporter, author
Art Buchwald, writer
Barbara Bush, former First Lady (U.S.)
Ray Charles, musician
Eric Clapton, musician
Dick Clark, television personality (American Bandstand)
Leonard Cohen, musician, writer
Francis Ford Coppola, director
Michael Crichton, writer
Kathy Kronkite, writer (daughter of Walter Kronkite)
Sheryl Crow, musician
Mike Douglas, media personality
Tony Dow, actor, director
Thomas Eagleton, former politician; professor
James Farmer, civil rights activist (1960s to present)
Jules Feiffer, playwright, screenwriter, cartoonist
Albert French, writer
John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, educator, author
Mariette Hartley, actor
Stephen Hawking, physicist
Anthony Hopkins, actor
Salvador Luria, scientist (bacterial genetics), Nobel Laureate
Robert McFarlane, former National Security Advisor (U.S.)
Sarah McLachlan, musician LOVE HER---going to see her 5/28!! :D
Charley Pell, former coach, Univ of Florida
Bonnie Raitt, musician
Joan Rivers, comedienne, talk show host
Roseanne, actor, writer, comedienne, also has MPD & OCD
Linda Sexton, writer (daughter of Anne Sexton)
Rod Steiger, actor
William Styron, writer
Kate Taylor, musician
James Taylor, musician
Livingston Taylor, musician
Mike Wallace, news anchor
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
sweetpeamd09 said:
As per http://www.pendulum.org/information/information_famous_luni.html

These people have said publicly that they have had one or more episodes of unipolar depression:

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
Rona Barrett, entertainment reporter, author
Art Buchwald, writer
Barbara Bush, former First Lady (U.S.)
Ray Charles, musician
Eric Clapton, musician
Dick Clark, television personality (American Bandstand)
Leonard Cohen, musician, writer
Francis Ford Coppola, director
Michael Crichton, writer
Kathy Kronkite, writer (daughter of Walter Kronkite)
Sheryl Crow, musician
Mike Douglas, media personality
Tony Dow, actor, director
Thomas Eagleton, former politician; professor
James Farmer, civil rights activist (1960s to present)
Jules Feiffer, playwright, screenwriter, cartoonist
Albert French, writer
John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, educator, author
Mariette Hartley, actor
Stephen Hawking, physicist
Anthony Hopkins, actor
Salvador Luria, scientist (bacterial genetics), Nobel Laureate
Robert McFarlane, former National Security Advisor (U.S.)
Sarah McLachlan, musician LOVE HER---going to see her 5/28!! :D
Charley Pell, former coach, Univ of Florida
Bonnie Raitt, musician
Joan Rivers, comedienne, talk show host
Roseanne, actor, writer, comedienne, also has MPD & OCD
Linda Sexton, writer (daughter of Anne Sexton)
Rod Steiger, actor
William Styron, writer
Kate Taylor, musician
James Taylor, musician
Livingston Taylor, musician
Mike Wallace, news anchor

This is fairly common .......so dont ever tell me it will keep me from reaching my dream of obtaining a medical liscense

we could all use each others support

One of my classmates is a 78 Y/O psychiatrist who is going back to school to take classes to obtain his MSc in Mol Bio. We have gotten to talk and have become very friendly ( the man is full of so much knowlwdge) But anyway he has over time told me about his own fight with depression since he was 15 years old. It was a struggle but he eventually accomplished everything he wanted to he told me........MD, Marrage, Kids, Nice house, Summer House, much respect, etc

We should keep this thread open as a way to communicate with eachother including other topics as well
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
closertofine said:
hadn't seen that before...but isn't the question limited to conditions that *currently* limit your ability to practice? It seems like they couldn't withhold a license because a person had once been hospitalized...or would that person (e.g. someone who was doing better but had been hospitalized years ago) still have to answer "yes" to that question? Just curious...sorry if a little off-topic.

Not all states ask this question. NY does not ask it at all. you WILL be a doctor and you WILL get a license
 

worriedwell

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2005
239
1
Status
sweetpeamd09 said:
I am not a happy camper right now (but not flipping out... hehe) but I just typed this whole thing about famous people with bipolar disorder...

so here's the site: http://bipolar.about.com/cs/celebs/a/bl_celebrities.htm

Robin Williams, Patty Duke, Jean-Claude VanDamme, Ben Stiller, Axl Rose, you get my point

I don't want this just to be about bipolar disorder (I don't want anyone to think that's all I care about), so if you know other interesting stuff re: other disorders please post, love to hear it.
Sweetpea,

I totally know the feeling...I hate when I type something on here and then hit submit and it gets lost for some stupid reason. So now everytime I am about to submit something that is somewhat long, I highlight, right click, and copy the text of the message and then hit submit (I do this with long emails too). Then if I lose it, I still have the text saved. But great link to famous people with bipolar anyway!
 
OP
S

sweetpeamd09

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2004
146
0
Status
doc05 said:
when you apply for a medical license, they will ask about mental/psychiatric disorders, health problems, medications you are on that MIGHT affect your function. obviously BPD is a serious diagnosis, and you should speak with your psychiatrist about how it might affect you down the road. Think about it: if your problem becomes uncontrolled, the potential ramifications could be rather serious, given that you will have patients of your own to consider. good luck.
By the way... BPD (Borderline personality disorder) should not be confused with Bipolar disorder (manic depression)...they are two very different disorders. I saw bipolar disorder abbreviated as BPD several times.. so I just wanted to clear that up b4 we get mixed up with all the terminology. :)
 

backontop

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2005
41
0
Status
doc5,

great info and i think you are on the right thread too (people who disagree should skip my post, since it relates to his/hers). and the person who matched psychiatry must realize that although he/she has not been discrminated against, it could happen when you apply for license which is totally different from matching. this is discrimination and should be illegal but it isn't. i realize the patient safety issues, but there are anti-discrimination laws that should hold true in medicine, but they dont/ it's also kind of a catch 22, since technically you could not tell them and your medical records are confidential;but in today's information age, people can often discover your records and now you have lied on an official document.

anyway, had a couple q's for the posters. what psychological conditions prevent you from practicing certain fields, and what fields do you think/know are open to these conditions? also, i know of someone who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder second yr of med school, took medication for a year, then was taken off due to remission combined with the probability of a misdiagnosis (i.e. the psychiatrist felt that the anxiety was within normal limits and likely never qualified for a DSM-IV diagnosis.) can the person check no for q22 and if ever discovered just claim that he/she was verbally told that there was no existing mental condition??

glad to read the NY license info. from what i have heard, lots of lobbying is being done to convert other states too.

anyway, the post about the person who got kicked out of med school really pissed me off. i walked that line due to academic reasons at one point, and just felt that kicking someone out was one of the coldest things that a med school could possibly do to someone so bright. I can't believe how upset i am over reading your post. it would help me to sleep a little better if you would send me a personal message giving me a little more info about your situation. I know a bunch of attorneys and would like to run it by some of them. i hope you are doing okay.


d09]By the way... BPD (Borderline personality disorder) should not be confused with Bipolar disorder (manic depression)...they are two very different disorders. I saw bipolar disorder abbreviated as BPD several times.. so I just wanted to clear that up b4 we get mixed up with all the terminology. :)[/QUOTE]
 

fotolilith

It's for a good cause
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 14, 2004
1,012
1
Mittelschmerz, USA
Status
Former agoraphobic who used to avoid crowded areas (but thankfully I went to public school with free therapy :thumbup: ).

I've learned that everyone is crazy in their own special way - it's the ones that don't admit it who are the most dangerous. ;)
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
backontop said:
doc5,

great info and i think you are on the right thread too (people who disagree should skip my post, since it relates to his/hers). and the person who matched psychiatry must realize that although he/she has not been discrminated against, it could happen when you apply for license which is totally different from matching. this is discrimination and should be illegal but it isn't. i realize the patient safety issues, but there are anti-discrimination laws that should hold true in medicine, but they dont/ it's also kind of a catch 22, since technically you could not tell them and your medical records are confidential;but in today's information age, people can often discover your records and now you have lied on an official document.

anyway, had a couple q's for the posters. what psychological conditions prevent you from practicing certain fields, and what fields do you think/know are open to these conditions? also, i know of someone who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder second yr of med school, took medication for a year, then was taken off due to remission combined with the probability of a misdiagnosis (i.e. the psychiatrist felt that the anxiety was within normal limits and likely never qualified for a DSM-IV diagnosis.) can the person check no for q22 and if ever discovered just claim that he/she was verbally told that there was no existing mental condition??



sorry if i came accross as a jerk not acceptint the post about obtaining a lisence. The point and issue is well taken .....and in the case of a more prominant mental illness which has a strong possibality of inpairing ones judgement (psychosis, or any other illness where one CANT function) i feel these points are valid for both physician as well as patient. In the case of some forms of depression and anxiety i feel differantly....millions of people live with this and function in society and quite well. If one can keep it together to make it through medical school there should be noproblem......they know what they have they know how to handle it. I feel its the ones who can not recognize when they fly off the handle that people should be worried of. I dont think depression or anxiety should distinguish people from anyone at all. And im sure most patients esp. in a psych practice would welcome it...giving them a great sence of comfort...trust me having some one who understands what you feel is a great thing and can be vital. To the woman with schizoaffective.......GOD BLESS YOU. I would love to meet you some day. Trust me you will touch the lives of many in your professional future............as far as i am concerned, im learning to live with my issue + im 23....still have lots of growing up to do, there is not one field of medicine i feel that i could not successfully practice however many i would choose not to. And none of that has anything to do with how i feel from day to day. God gives every one a cross to carry in life, and you just have to find the best way to carry it....this goes with everything

wow i need to get to bed.....im way to into SDN
keep the coments comming i think issues similar to this need to be discussed, or at least start another thread about medical legality
 

sunny66

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2004
33
0
Status
I have a friend who is bipolar. She got through med school and residency ok and is now practicing. About to have her first kid too. Of course, every person's situation is different. But there are doctors out there with all kinds of illneses, anmd hopefully the stigma will decrease in the future.
 

reddirtgirl

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2005
181
0
www.radioparadise.com
Status
to add to the "famous bipolar" list:

Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

(14th October 1946-) is an American psychologist and science writer who is herself affected by manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder.

"Manic-Depressive Illness" (with Frederick K. Goodwin) is one of the classic textbooks on bipolar disorder.

Works include:

"An Unquiet Mind" (autobiography), ISBN 0679763309
"Manic-Depressive Illness" (with Frederick K. Goodwin) ISBN 0195039343
"Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament" (1993) (includes a study of Lord Byron's illness), ISBN 068483183X
"Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide", ISBN 0375701478
"Exuberance: The Passion for Life" (2004), ISBN 037540144X
Jamison is the recipient of the National Mental Health Association's William Styron Award (1995), the American Suicide Foundation Research Award (1996), the Community Mental Health Leadership Award (1999), and was a 2001 MacArthur Fellowhip recipient.
 

MeowMix

Explaining "Post-Call"
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 6, 2003
1,639
12
Visit site
Status
Attending Physician
relevant anecdote - just found out that a long-time family friend has had to stop practicing as an ob/gyn after 15 years in practice, because of being diagnosed as bipolar and being on meds following some kind of major episode. She is in her 40s, family, kids, well established, brilliant career so far. As far as I understand, the licensing board will not let her continue to practice surgery; it's not clear whether she can change focus within her specialty.
 

Amorphisgirl

"Speak"ster
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2005
226
1
Status
MeowMix said:
As far as I understand, the licensing board will not let her continue to practice surgery; it's not clear whether she can change focus within her specialty.
Just wondering, is the inability to practice surgery related to the DSM diagnosis or the meds? Would you please find out? IMO it must be the meds--they tell those on meds not to operate machinery, etc.
 

reddirtgirl

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2005
181
0
www.radioparadise.com
Status
it seems that there are alot of psych meds on the market whose mechanism aren't fully understood..... yet prescribed by the boatload.

Is it just me or is this, pardon the pun, crazy? I guess it's always a "benefit outweighs the risk" thing... but if the mechanism is unknown, then so are the risks... even if it's gone through all stages of clinical trials and has been on the market.
 

scienceguy

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2005
58
0
NY
Status
Amorphisgirl said:
Just wondering, is the inability to practice surgery related to the DSM diagnosis or the meds? Would you please find out? IMO it must be the meds--they tell those on meds not to operate machinery, etc.

interesting, i wonder why, must be the meds she is on ....i know of a surgeon who is bipolar....still practices
 

dynx

Yankee Imperialist
15+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2003
4,584
203
IN YOUR HEAD...let me out!
Visit site
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
There is a very well know psychiatrist I know of that is bipolar, so it is clearly do-able. I think the question is if you can make it through medical school. As others have said, if anything is going to put you into a depressive episode, or drive a manic episode to the extreme it's med school. So the thing to be sure of is that your disorder isn't at a level that will keep you from completing medical school, if you can do it, I have no doubt about your ability to function as an MD. IF you can't, you've put yourself into a lot of debt and through a lot of hardship with no gain. It's not something to be discouraged about, but it is something to think long and hard about and maybe get the opinion of your psychiatrist, see what level of functioning they think you're at if it's high enough to make it.
 

biomajor

Junior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2002
12
0
Visit site
Status
MeowMix said:
relevant anecdote - just found out that a long-time family friend has had to stop practicing as an ob/gyn after 15 years in practice, because of being diagnosed as bipolar and being on meds following some kind of major episode. She is in her 40s, family, kids, well established, brilliant career so far. As far as I understand, the licensing board will not let her continue to practice surgery; it's not clear whether she can change focus within her specialty.

just curious, how would a medical board find out unless, she went down there herself and told them
 

pwecioustweets

New Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 28, 2004
1
0
Status
I have a friend who is grasping with how to get through med school with bipolar I. I want to be supportive, but I'm not sure how. I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice. Thanks! :luck:
 

Kazema

In a kingdom by the sea
15+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2004
1,850
4
Status
Medical Student
reddirtgirl said:
to add to the "famous bipolar" list:

Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

(14th October 1946-) is an American psychologist and science writer who is herself affected by manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder.

"Manic-Depressive Illness" (with Frederick K. Goodwin) is one of the classic textbooks on bipolar disorder.

Works include:

"An Unquiet Mind" (autobiography), ISBN 0679763309
"Manic-Depressive Illness" (with Frederick K. Goodwin) ISBN 0195039343
"Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament" (1993) (includes a study of Lord Byron's illness), ISBN 068483183X
"Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide", ISBN 0375701478
"Exuberance: The Passion for Life" (2004), ISBN 037540144X
Jamison is the recipient of the National Mental Health Association's William Styron Award (1995), the American Suicide Foundation Research Award (1996), the Community Mental Health Leadership Award (1999), and was a 2001 MacArthur Fellowhip recipient.
I just read "An Unquiet Mind" recently, very beautifully written and a must read (in my opinion).
 

Tigger27

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2005
110
0
Status
Thanks for starting this thread, sweetpeamd, and thanks to everyone who has shared on it. It is always reassuring to learn you're not alone. I, too, can empathize with many of the struggles shared by others on this thread. I've been dealing with PTSD and severe depression since high school. I withdrew from college at one point and had a hard time getting my life back together. In the end, though, I believe that what we go through will only strengthen our ability to connect with our patients, colleagues and friends. I think going through the rough patches in life and coming out the other side gives one depth as a person and that recovery provides insight that might not be gained otherwise. This is not to say that people who've had it easier can't empathize or have insight or be grounded - don't get me wrong - I just think sometimes they have to try a little harder to get it ;) Going through any illness (mental, physical, etc) is kind of like a crash course in learning about it and its treatment. I could go on and on....but I'll spare you from my ramblings.
 

Tigger27

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2005
110
0
Status
pwecioustweets said:
I have a friend who is grasping with how to get through med school with bipolar I. I want to be supportive, but I'm not sure how. I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice. Thanks! :luck:
Pwecioustweets, as I was going through several difficult times as an undergrad, my friends were an unbelievable support, and I don't know how I would have made it without them. So I'm so glad your friend has someone like you that obviously cares. Let them know that you are there for them unconditionally. Let it be known that you can offer whatever they need - a hug, someone to be hyper around, and most of all, someone who won't judge. Depression led me to say and do some pretty crazy things that might have scared a lot of people away - my true friends weren't scared away - they came closer when I needed them the most. Let your friend know that you support any effort they are making to get the help they need. There is such a stigma about mental illness out there that they might be embarassed to talk about medications, therapy, etc. So make words like that seem a normal part of conversation so that your friend knows you aren't judging him or her. I had a friend who offered to go with me to a support group once and that meant the world to me. Just being there unconditionally is the best help you can offer.
 

Eckhart

New Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2005
1
0
Status
Hello,

I am so thankful that this thread was started. I have been struggling with the issue of whether to pursue my calling and fulfill my aspirations to become a physician though I have struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life.
I have been accepted to a medical school for fall 2006. I am scared that I might have bouts with depression as a med student and as a physician but I have made it to where I am now just fine and gotten through some very low times. I have talked with my psych about my decision to go and he thinks it is a good one. As for medical licensure, when I told him about having to disclose psychiatric history in California he laughed and told me he knows many docs with depression and that he's sure there are plenty in CA as well.
 
OP
S

sweetpeamd09

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2004
146
0
Status
I haven't had enough time to read through all the responses in here... but what I have read is awesome. I was just hoping to continue the conversation about this subject. I am having a really, really sucky time right now--probably the worst bout of depression in about 6 years since my brand-new car was smashed by a mack truck (w/ me in it), I'm fighting w/ my car insurance co. and now I have bills that haunt me at night...and lots of other personal bs. I am just really frustrated b/c this is happening just months before I don my own white coat (less than 4 mos. left!!). So right now I'm just trying to keep my head above the water.

Thank you for all of you who have shared your personal experiences...this is just amazing. :love:
 

thirdunity

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2005
362
2
Status
Similar issues here. I have a pretty damning "paper" diagnosis [Asperger's Syndrome - technically a developmental disability] which I am in the process of getting reversed. Because - what it turns out I have, is hyperfocus/overfocus-dominant ADHD which has responded dramatically to medication. My social awkwardness for example went away on meds.

I'm getting this revision of my diagnosis on paper, and am planning to get a few second opinions on the matter (also on paper), because even the suspicion of AS is something that could come back to haunt me years later.

I know a few people who really *do* have AS, and function reasonably [no one who knows these people, thinks I have AS]. However, the public image of this condition is so bad that there is a doctor online who has it, but wants to remain anonymous, for fear of losing his job if he's found out.
 
OP
S

sweetpeamd09

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2004
146
0
Status
thirdunity said:
Similar issues here. I have a pretty damning "paper" diagnosis [Asperger's Syndrome - technically a developmental disability] which I am in the process of getting reversed. Because - what it turns out I have, is hyperfocus/overfocus-dominant ADHD which has responded dramatically to medication. My social awkwardness for example went away on meds.

I'm getting this revision of my diagnosis on paper, and am planning to get a few second opinions on the matter (also on paper), because even the suspicion of AS is something that could come back to haunt me years later.

I know a few people who really *do* have AS, and function reasonably [no one who knows these people, thinks I have AS]. However, the public image of this condition is so bad that there is a doctor online who has it, but wants to remain anonymous, for fear of losing his job if he's found out.
I can sympathize. Bipolar disorder, be it type I or II (<--my diagnosis) carries a disgusting stigma. Although I must admit that I am energetic, talkative, and yes, peppy at 7 am--I don't think that quite qualifies as manic. So, I am getting a second opinion. I think I am cyclothymic...very similar to bipolar II but even less "dramatic". What seems to be sucking me down the most is my depression. My psychiatrist is big on bipolar disorder and I think may be throwing such a weighty diagnosis at way too many patients---similar to the way that doctors have been over-diagnosing ADHD (my original diagnosis). I am extremely angry with my doctor since she has decided to big-time up my meds (she had not intended on upping them until I requested it), and then put me on a medication I'd rather not discuss rather than pursue tried and true anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs. ALL WHILE GOING ON VACATION FOR A MONTH! :mad: That's bright, right? <I'll do a major revision of my patient's meds...then go on vacation for a month and not have a med management visit until the end of June. Oh and leave her with no telephone numbers of who to call if the medication change doesn't go so hot.> I am kind of scared of where this is all going. I was very clear that I need an anti-depressant (I was on a mood stabilizer as well---so there should be little worry that I would develop acute mania---even though I have never been classicly manic or even hypomanic). I feel like I'm headed down a very ugly path just a few months before med. school starts. I'm going to have to seek other medical advice b/c this is just not pretty...nor is it coming at a good time. :confused:
 

Paws

7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 2, 2003
1,096
6
Visit site
Status
Well, sometimes recently I have been wondering if I have Ausperger's or maybe high-functioning autism because my normal shyness has progressed to wanting to actively avoid people. I like people but I feel WAY overstimulated and even when I walk down the halls of the hopsital at school I want to avert my eyes to avoid even that little bit of human interaction.

I'm thinking that might even be normal considering the pressure cooker environment of medical school. I feel way overstimulated and am trying to compensate as best I can. But still ... where is that fine line drawn between 'mental issues' and just regular coping mechanisms?

Depression when you are completely overwhelmed and undersupported seems like a healthy coping mechanism to me ... I would feel depressed too, if I was in sweetpeamd's shoes, what with the car and the bills, etc. That seems normal to me ...

:luck:
 

Tigger27

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2005
110
0
Status
sweetpeamd09 said:
I haven't had enough time to read through all the responses in here... but what I have read is awesome. I was just hoping to continue the conversation about this subject. I am having a really, really sucky time right now--probably the worst bout of depression in about 6 years since my brand-new car was smashed by a mack truck (w/ me in it), I'm fighting w/ my car insurance co. and now I have bills that haunt me at night...and lots of other personal bs. I am just really frustrated b/c this is happening just months before I don my own white coat (less than 4 mos. left!!). So right now I'm just trying to keep my head above the water.

Thank you for all of you who have shared your personal experiences...this is just amazing. :love:
Hang in there, sweetpea :) I know from experience (and I know you do too) that the road is at times bumpy - very bumpy - but it will even out again. Look back at posts you made, things you wrote, etc when you were feeling better about life, and use those things to remind you that you'll get back there. Stress definitely has a tendency to make all of us revert to our symptoms, and lord knows you have had your share of stress lately. Most importantly, are you physically okay after the accident? Man, not what you need now, I bet. Also, I don't know about the history you have with your psychiatrist, but if you feel neglected by her, how would you feel about giving someone else a try. I know depression can make us "snowball" our worries into catastrophies, but remember that med school still is months away and that's enough time to stabilize. Good Luck :luck: And see, you were looking out for yourself way ahead of time by starting this thread. It's pro-active steps like that which will help you (and all of us) survive!!

:)