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Mental health and career

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DermGerm

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I'm still in training and have an anger and anxiety problem. I’m still very functional and as far as I know this hasn’t affected my work. Just primarily my personal life. If I go to a counselor or see a psychiatrist, will I need to report it on my medical license applications? I don’t remember if this was a question when I initially applied for my residency medical license. Anyone know of any drawbacks on my career if I try to seek professional treatment versus only trying to work on it myself?

I recognize I have a problem and seeking solutions but don’t want to resort to something that may have a negative impact on my future career unless I absolutely need to.

Thank you


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colbgw02

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I'm certainly not an expert, but because you have gotten any other bites...

I've held double digit state licenses and been privileged at 20+ hospitals, and I've never been asked such a question. There's usually a broad question about whether or not you have any condition that would prohibit or impair you practicing medicine. Nothing you've described remotely approaches such a condition, so you answer 'no', get licensed/privileged, and go about your life.
 
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mvenus929

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Think about the drawbacks if you don't seek help---you become more depressed/anxious and it does start affecting your work. You get burned out. You don't perform as well at work, so you lose promotions, or you just quit all together. Then there's the whole suicide risk thing.

No, it will not affect your ability to be licensed, and should not affect your career. A huge number of physicians are depressed, and repressing it doesn't do anyone any good.

Also, FWIW, we have residents in our program we refer for various types of help--whether traditional counseling, or help with 'leadership' skills, including communication, professionalism, etc. This usually happens when it starts impacting someone's ability to function in our system, and if they don't comply with the help we are 'offering', then they go on formal probation and have an uphill climb to get back on track. Getting yourself help early can prevent your residency from knowing anything about it and make sure you do stay functional so you don't end up down that path.
 
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NotAProgDirector

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In general, as long as you're not admitted or have some other "major" issue, getting help shouldn't trigger any problems for licensure. Losing your temper and having that reported to the board could definitely cause problems, so definitely worth addressing. Several states do have tighter requirements: FL, MA, CA, TX, and PA. But even there, this shouldn't be an issue. The relevant question from FL: "During the last five years, have you been treated for or had a recurrence of a diagnosed mental disorder that has impaired your ability to practice medicine within the past five years?". From MA: "Do you have a medical or physical condition that currently impairs your ability to practice medicine?". As you can see, the answer to these questions will be "no" whether you get help or not.
 
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HomeSkool

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The relevant question from FL: "During the last five years, have you been treated for or had a recurrence of a diagnosed mental disorder that has impaired your ability to practice medicine within the past five years?". From MA: "Do you have a medical or physical condition that currently impairs your ability to practice medicine?". As you can see, the answer to these questions will be "no" whether you get help or not.
Exactly: the key factor affecting your suitability for licensure is whether your ability to practice safely has been impaired, and it's been asked in that way in every state in which I've ever been licensed (IN, GA, NC). From what you've said so far, the answer is "no." Get your problems addressed before it becomes "yes."
 
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