seeing a psychologist?

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  • #25799
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    hi there,

    i am currently a premed student. i am considering seeing a psychologist as i am getting to a point where i need to work with someone (outside of my personal realtionships) to resolve some issues i have. i have heard that medical schools sometimes look in your medical records(?) this concerns me as i wouldn’t want to jeopardize my chances by seeming unstable. i really think that this might help me function better as both a student and a person. any thoughts?

    thanks

    #25800
    maggie52maggie52
    Participant

    I had the exact same thoughts as you ( during med school) and my boyfriend and I never did seek help…probably should have ( his family had mental problems-literally- that were adversely affecting his life and therefor mine)
    I share your paranoia about seeking mental help causing me prof problems in the future…any spiritual advisor you could use (priest etc)?

    #25801
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    No one should be able to access your records. It is extremely difficult for physicians to obtain psych records even when they know the treating physician or psychologist.

    There is no indep. database that a med school could look into to discover whether or not you have seen a therapist in your state.

    #25802
    EM momEM mom
    Participant

    This is really sad, but although no one has access to your medical records per se, you WILL be asked when applying for your license if you have sought “psychiatric” help.

    I think there was also a thread on here not too long ago about a member who was seeing someone who had to report to the board for her to keep her license. Talk about a rock and a hard place…if you need more help you may not get your license, however if you deny the help you need you may be practicing while “impaired”.

    Tread lightly, but if you need help, by ALL means GET IT!

    #25803
    psychpsych
    Participant

    I agree. Get the help. The best way to keep it confidential is the most expensive: pay privately and don’t submit to your insurance company. Another option is to use your college mental health clinic which may be free but probably limits the # of sessions. If it’s mostly relationship counseling (especially couples counseling) it’s hard for me to imagine how that could negatively impact your future.

    Different states vary in the questions they ask for licensure. The AMA has recommended that states ask about impairment from mental illness/substance abuse, not just whether or not you have a diagnosis or are being/have been treated. It really depends on the state, and you kind of have to deal with that when you get there.

    Licensure doesn’t usually get denied though, even if you acknowledge a history of psychiatric treatment, although you and/or your doctor may have to submit a statement saying that you are not impaired.

    The other issue is that disability insurance is VERY hard to get if you disclose previous/current psychiatric treatment. The best option I have found so far is to continue the group disability coverage you get with residency even though you have to pay for it yourself. I have also heard of a doc who did get the coverage but had to pay extra for a mental health “rider” to the policy. ARGH!!! Our country remains discriminatory to people with mental illnesses.

    #25804
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    you WILL be asked when applying for your license if you have sought “psychiatric” help.

    I don’t know anyone who has ever ‘confessed’ to having sought psychiatric help…One of our friends was suicidal during her 3rd year of med school and was in counseling for the entire year. She never mentioned it and honestly, why should she have to? There is too much of a stigma associated with mental health issues despite the fact that 1/2 of the docs that I work with could use some good psych care :p

    #25805
    rydysrydys
    Participant

    I’ve never thought of seeking counseling to get through a difficult period in life as getting psychiatric treatment. Anyone can provide that, such as a priest or rabbi or social worker or psychiatrist. I really don’t think that is what the licensing boards have in mind when asking about provious psych treatment (or disability either, for that matter) I’ve seen several social workers (my mother is a social worker and felt it important for all of us kids to see someone regularly growing up) and it didn’t occur to me to mention that when asked about psych treatment.

    #25806
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    Also…isn’t there a time restraint like 5 years or so on this question? If you seek counseling during ugrad, you will likely have exceeded the 5 years by the time you get through med school….

    #25807
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    I think your concerns about privacy are very valid.

    Personally, I would make arrangements privately and pay without insurance. Then there is no paper trail and you don’t have to tell anyone. It is more expensive, though, although most MH providers have sliding scale fees for self-pay clients.

    #25808
    BevBev
    Participant

    Ok, can someone please clarify for me…? Please?

    I currently see a psychiatrist as a matter of maintenance for my medications. I have a diagnosed disorder, but it isn’t a debilitating problem. Certainly with medication, I am a fully-functioning human being.

    Now, I’m going to have to justify this to a licensure board because I am treating a health problem??? Sheesh! And we wonder why the general public still thinks we’re (persons with mental illness) pariahs!

    For the record, I am not psychotic or schizophrenic. No breaks with reality. No anti-social behavior. Don’t think I’m a danger to the public at large so…..why does this matter? Wouldn’t a doc with untreated diabetes be more “impaired” than a patient seeing a psychiatrist?

    #25809
    psychpsych
    Participant

    Maybe, yes, and yes. Usually the question is something like “Have you ever been treated for a mental illness or substance abuse? If so, explain.” or “Do you currently have a mental disorder which might impair your ability to practice medicine …” Again, it depends on each state, and you can probably look at a licensing application online. If it’s a current question, the answer is usually no. If it’s an ever question, then it depends whether they are asking about IMPAIRMENT or just having been treated. Obviously unfair if the latter.

    Statistics (sorry if I keep saying this): 40% of male residents and 60% of female residents have an episode of major depression. Lifetime risk of an episode of major depression for female physicians is on the order of 70%. Wish the licensing boards would wake up and smell the coffee …

    #25810
    EM momEM mom
    Participant

    I really hope I did not offend anybody by bringing up the licensing board thing…I do not in ANY WAY agree with this question (and I think the actual question was “have you ever received psychiatric treatment?”). I just know that in Texas I had to answer this question (I just received my license, so the whole horrible process is painfully fresh in my mind!).

    I really DO hope that anyone that needs help of any type GETS it! I totally believe the statistics about physician depression because I know how depressed I was during my intern year. Luckily I had great colleagues that I leaned on heavily for support, don’t know if I would have made it otherwise!

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