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Do I Need Help?

Question:

I’m a 21 year old medical student. Recently I don’t know what’s happening to me. I am going to have an important exam soon. Since approximately one month the whole night i keep on dreaming. I am unable to have a deep sleep. I argue with my boyfriend over stupid things. I get angry over things that hardly matter and I tend to hurt myself when I am angry. An example is giving a punch to the wall or something like that. Then I cry a lot and I calm down. Do I need help or am I just stressed because of my exams?

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  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

The answer to your question is, “Yes, you do need help.” The reasons have a lot to do with the nature of medical school. In fact, among medical students, there is a high rate of depression, anxiety and, yes, extreme stress. Some students drop out of school because they cannot take the stress but do not go for help.

You are on the road to becoming a medical doctor, an important and rewarding career. In addition to your studies and work, you must take care of yourself.

So, first, I urge you to see a psychiatrist in your school. Trust me, there will be nothing unusual about a medical student seeking psychiatric help. The psychiatrist may or may not prescribe medication and may refer you to one of the clinical psychologists on staff.

In addition, it is important that you find time for some exercise, good nutrition and rest. You may not have a lot of time for exercise but most medical schools have gyms and you should use it if only for thirty minutes.

Please, go and get help now.

Best of Luck

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