nerdatheart2016

2+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2016
1
0
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I was in the psych hospital this week due to a bad reaction to my antidepressants. Because of this I am planning on applying for a partial medical withdrawal, potentially I may have to do a full medical withdrawal to preserve my scholarship. Can I still become a doctor after this? SOS
 
Jul 13, 2018
36
22
11
In my experience, the answer is yes. I actually wrote my personal essay about how my own psychotic break led to my eventual path into medicine - it was important to me to be totally honest for my first cycle instead of watering it down. Not only did I get interviews/waitlists and acceptance, but I also met another current OMS 2 with Bipolar disorder who has also been psychiatrically hospitalized. If it's anything similar to nursing, they do audit my nursing license for behavioral concerns and your license can be revoked for severe mental illness if you choose to refuse treatment (I'm a psych nurse, we've had doctors and nurses in here before who refused meds and lost their licenses due to the safety concerns, and those who come in and go straight back to work when they're done), but your chances of being a doctor aren't destroyed because of a hospitalization if you're appropriately seeking help - at least, that's my experience.
 
Oct 17, 2018
458
835
41
New England
Status
Attending Physician
I was in the psych hospital this week due to a bad reaction to my antidepressants. Because of this I am planning on applying for a partial medical withdrawal, potentially I may have to do a full medical withdrawal to preserve my scholarship. Can I still become a doctor after this? SOS
I recommend that you directly speak to your mental health professionals who know you best, as they are in a much better position than anyone on SDN to advise you. It really depends on how stable vs unstable you are -and you need to trust the professionals over your own assessment. Obviously, completely withdrawing will give you more time to focus on your health, and if that is what is needed, then withdraw. But some (relatively more stable) people do worse with too much unstructured time, and depending on your current health, you might be better off staying in some classes and activities. And if there are the financial implications with your scholarship, as you imply, you need to get the information about that to consider.

Either way, whether you drop some classes or all of your classes due to a medical withdrawal, you will be able to apply to medical school in the future. Of course, if medical schools suspect that your medical leave was due to psychiatric reasons, they may want to see a couple of years of stability - which, depending where you are in college, might mean taking a gap year or two. And though you will read stories on SDN of people who are very transparent about their mental health struggles in the applications and interviews, I have seen it go the other way more than not. I recommend that people draw on the strength of their own struggles throughout their careers, which will make them better doctors, but I can not give an overall recommendation that applicants should be transparent about their mental health histories when they apply. Too much stigma. It is not fair, but, with some exceptions, it is the current landscape.
 
  • Like
Reactions: singernursepremed
Jul 13, 2018
36
22
11
Holy crap. The general wisdom is not to discuss mental health issues in one's application, but it apparently worked for @singernursepremed! @Goro: how do you think this went down?
I know it's not condoned. But, like I said, it was important to me to be truly honest about what drove me to medicine for my first cycle. And I feel very supported knowing that the culture to decrease the stigma on campus is there too! I think it worked for me because it really was my springboard, and I now count my experiences and growth as one of my strengths as a healthcare worker. At my interview, the person interviewing me said it was 'very unusual' to see such a subject in your primary essay. I can say from experience that I have met many healthcare workers who were psychiatrically hospitalized. It doesn't mean it's a death sentence in medicine. That's what I wanted to get across to OP.

I'm going to add; I agree with @gorowannabe that your best bet is to talk to your trusted MHPs. They know your case better than anyone on here and can help you make the correct decision for you. They may even be able to help you cope with financial concerns and navigate those necessities as well via referrals, counseling to utilize coping skills for any stress, etc. Your team is going to be a major support for you going forward - and you need to do what is best for you. When talking about mental health, that's so variable that your and your team are going to be that rock and springboard you need to move forward from this to whatever the next step may be.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: gorowannabe

subdermallight

2+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2016
251
112
81
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
You don’t have to disclose why you got a medical withdrawal if you choose not to. It won’t hurt you having a medical withdrawal if you came back from it and did good in your classes for another year or two
 
  • Like
Reactions: e2468

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
50,097
71,659
181
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
I was in the psych hospital this week due to a bad reaction to my antidepressants. Because of this I am planning on applying for a partial medical withdrawal, potentially I may have to do a full medical withdrawal to preserve my scholarship. Can I still become a doctor after this? SOS
Very sorry to hear of this, nerda.

IF you can get your depression under 100%, yes.

Otherwise, I can't recommend this path. Medical school is a furnace, and I've seen it break even healthy students. The #1 reason my school loses students to withdrawal, dismissal or LOA is to unresolved mental health issues.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
50,097
71,659
181
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Holy crap. The general wisdom is not to discuss mental health issues in one's application, but it apparently worked for @singernursepremed! @Goro: how do you think this went down?
Applicants who have a track record of continuous academic success and strong ECs allay our fears of relapses.
 

Walter Raleigh

2+ Year Member
Sep 20, 2015
1,258
467
81
Status
Pre-Medical
Is it a good idea to write about this sort of thing if you've got a solid GPA, excellent MCAT, and good ECs - and it's part of the reason why you chose medicine?
 

JustaDO

2+ Year Member
May 22, 2015
612
1,085
81
Status
Resident [Any Field]
SDN - Always trying to put their worst foot forward when applying to something competitive.
 
Jul 17, 2017
60
7
61
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided), Pre-Dental
To add a different perspective, I suffered from endometrial cancer as a junior in college, and luckily I recovered but as a consequence I developed several depression and anxiety related issues which has impacted my productivity comparably to having cancer.
 
Oct 17, 2018
458
835
41
New England
Status
Attending Physician
To add a different perspective, I suffered from endometrial cancer as a junior in college, and luckily I recovered but as a consequence I developed several depression and anxiety related issues which has impacted my productivity comparably to having cancer.
Certainly your experiences as a patient will help you be an empathetic provider and will motivate you in many ways. Your experiences with depression and anxiety ARE common, but under-appreciated long term side effects after experiencing cancer and treatment, and certainly can be a part of your application. You should highlight your struggles, medical and otherwise, in your secondary essays as well as during II when appropriate. You could certainly write a powerful essay that shows your commitment to addressing the psychological health of those with serious illnesses, given your own experience that the physical recovery was easier than the psychological one.

ADCOMs will want to see that you have largely overcome mental health issues, in great part bc professional schools can be very stressful and optimal mental health is a pre-requisite for success. So I do recommend that you take the time, before applying, to maximize your mental health with the help of professionals. And time/distance from your diagnosis and ttmt does seem to improve things for most people. You have already overcome so much more than many of your peers - and gained a unique outlook and perspective.