Mental Health past and Medicine future?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by styphon, Aug 24, 2001.

  1. styphon

    styphon Senior Member
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    I was wondering..Does anyone know if having a mental health past <being on disability for mental illness> makes it impossible to get into med schools?
     
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  3. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member

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    we're all human and as future physicians we're not immune to mental or health problems. so don't worry if you're wondering if you're fit to practice medicine: sometimes the best doctors or therapists themselves had the same disorder they treat.

    however, did you resolve your mental health issues when you took time out? it's very important that you're honest with yourself. if you only pressed your issues back in your mind then they might leak out under the stresses and pressures of medical school.

    if you think you're stable enough to be an excellent med student and doctor then why mention to med schools a previous mental health issue? that'll only raise red flags. there's no policy that says you have to share such information. eventhough you may have grown from the circumstance or can articulate it well, there will still be narrow-minded people who won't give you the benefit of the doubt.
     
  4. moo

    moo 1K Member

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    No. It is illegal for med schools to discriminate based on that sort of thing. However, I do know of people, having worked at a psych institution, who have had to withdraw from medical school because they developed mental illness. It's so sad.
     
  5. Loki

    Loki Senior Member

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    Ugh..

    Did the stress of medschool expose the mental illness, or did the mental illness develop as a respose to the stress of med school...

    Man, that is some freaky stuff to think about.
     
  6. Loki

    Loki Senior Member

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    oops..I meant response to stress
     
  7. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member

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    What if it comes up in the interview, why one semester you dropped a bunch of classes, and did poor in what you did continue. what if they ask what the illness was when you tell them it was for medical reasons.

    it's tough to go thru.. and sad. i know... too well.
     
  8. styphon

    styphon Senior Member
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    If a question came up about me "missing classes" or dropping out or such I would say I needed "time off" or "a moment to gather my thoughts".
    I do realize though that people would see mental illness as a red flag during interviews.
     
  9. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie

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    Hi styphon.

    I am currently a 1st year at UTMB, and I was accepted to medical school even though I have Bipolar I disorder. When I was diagnosed with it, I was in the mental ward in the childrens hospital for almost 2 months, and I had a relapse episode (my first) just this past May - a week before I graduated - and they didnt rescind my acceptance. I didnt talk about it in my interviews, but I know that the school knows about it - they have my medical records. They cannot discriminate against you because of a psychiatric past. HOWEVER, if the mental health issue has not been resolved or controlled, that can lead to lack of acceptance - mostly because uncontrolled mental issues usually come out in personal interactions as "red flags". Something for YOU to think about is this: can you handle the physical and emotional stresses of medical school and residency? Even with "reasonable accomodations" it can be hard. If you flaunt your accomodations (or refuse to attempt to make it without them), you will create a whole pot of trouble for yourself. If you think that you are prepared, then by all means go ahead!

    Good luck,
    Star
     
  10. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

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    Just curious, how did they get your medical records?
     
  11. cchoukal

    cchoukal Senior Member
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    I think it's a little naive to think that schools CAN'T discriminate based on a history of mental illness. With so many people applying for so few spots, a person could be rejected for such a past and the school would never have to admit it because there are so many other reasons people get rejected when competition is this stiff (geez, who sounds paranoid now?). I interviewed at 6 schools, and I can't think of a time during those interviews that something like that would have come up. I suppose if you have a bad semeter with a lot of dropped classes, you could say you had a health problem. Would they ask what it was? Sure, but there's no reason you have to tell them. I would like to think that most physicians understand people like privacy with regard to their health issues and wouldn't think twice if you politely deferred from explaining yours. It sucks that you have to hide this problem; the mental illness stigma is still alive and well in the world, and by hiding your history, you're feeding the problem. Your job, however, is not to be a crusader and martyr yourself on the adcomm altar in the name of mental illness. Your job is to get into medical school and help people with your problem. Then when you have a national reputation in the field, THEN you come clean with your past and it could change the world. Good luck.
     
  12. jasmine

    jasmine Member

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    Mental health is a somewhat taboo issue in our society. A physician who is capable of taking away that stigma is an asset - by demonstrating that you can take your own experience and use it to help others, you can take what seems to some a liability and turn it into a strength.
     
  13. Oliver Lang

    Oliver Lang Member

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    I agree with this. There are impaired physicians just like in any field. Mental health is as important as any other type of health. No matter what, emotional stability is very important to be a doctor or anything else.
     
  14. moo

    moo 1K Member

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    I don't know. I suppose it's a bit of both. I read somewhere that if neither of your parents have, for example, schizophrenia, then you have a 1% chance of developing it. If one of your parents has it, you have like a 13% chance of developing it. If both your parents have it, you have a 36% chance of developing it so I think it's definitely genetic. (I think there are similar stats for bipolar, although the actual rates of bipolar disorder varies.) One guy I met finished a couple years of med school in a European country (I'm not going to say exactly where b/c I don't wanna get in trouble!) and then had a psychotic episode, ended up following his landlord (who he thought he was in love with) to Canada, and ended up stalking her. He was finally arrested and taken in to the psych ICU.
     
  15. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie

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    After I was accepted, I had to send them a list of all doctors I'd seen in the last 5 years - and since I was still seeing my pdoc my Sr year of high school, I had to include his name. I also had to sign a release, authorizing them to get my records. Apparantly, not agreeing to this can lead to them un-accepting you. *shrug* im not that worried about it. Ive seen the Pdoc here who is in charge of the psych residency program (he's a specialist in mood disorders), and he thinks that its a great thing that Im going to med school - and has declared me fully "in remission" from BPI. Now that I am here, they legally cant do anything, under the ADA unless I go on some kind of psychotic rampage or start doing drugs or something.

    Star
     
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  17. C U in MD school

    C U in MD school Senior Member

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    Starflyr could you please post which med school you are attending? And how did you approach the admission committee about this problem (letter, wrote it int he secondary, personal statment, etc). I have ADD and I was wondering if it would be wise for me to tell the committee. thanx
     
  18. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie

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    hey CU.

    I go to UTMB (Galveston, Texas). I *didn't* approach the adcom about it, since it didnt affect anything like MCATs or GPA, even when I *wasnt* on medication (college, basically). I just let well enough alone. TO be honest, I do not know how to approach an adcom about a disability that *does* affect these things. There are a lot of people here who have ADD who might be able to offer more constructive advice. Good luck :)

    Star
     

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