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I Am Afraid To See A Doctor About My Problem Because Of My Future Profession!

Question:

I’m scared. I am currently in graduate school to become a "professional in the medical field." I have been bulimic for about 7 years, and honestly, the best thing that helped me was seeing a therapist and taking Prozac. I have since stopped both for about 2 years, and have not gotten better. However, now that I am going to obtain my "title" in 3 years, I am afraid to go back to a professional for fear of this coming back to haunt me, either when I apply for "Residency" or anytime in the future. Is there a way where I can see a therapist without using my name or insurance and obtain the medications that I know I need. Thank You!

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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:

You pose an interesting question that I ma pleased to answer because, during my long career, I have treated medical professionals, including medical doctors, nurses, psychologists and any number of other medical professionals. I am now retired from practice but I can tell you that psychotherapy and medication posed no difficulties for those I saw in treatment.

Those who enter medical practice are not immune from having emotional problems. In fact, the pressures of medical school, residency and the long, strenuous years of training impact on so many people that many medical schools provide psychiatric support services for their students. There have also been suicides among those in the midst of medical training.

This pressure does not end after full entry into the medical field, either as a doctor or anything else. In fact, there are now support services provided by medical and nursing institutions to help those professionals who become addicted to drugs and alcohol so that they can recover and resume their careers.

Please remember something else: Those who have bulimia tend to be secretive about the disorder because they feel ashamed. They feel ashamed for a couple of reason. One has to do with purging. Even though a person has bulimia, they view purging as very "disgusting." Second, with bulimia and other eating disorders, there is a strong tendency to be very secretive. Part of this has to do with issues of control Therefore, I am suggesting that your fears about your career may have a lot to do with secrecy, shame and control.

There is really no way for anyone to receive treatment without giving and using their name. However, there are many people who prefer to not use medical insurance for psychotherapy and medication in order to prevent their personal information from entering the computer systems. Of course, medications require prescriptions and that type of information is stored in computers, but not those of health insurance companies. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that you have nothing to fear from using your name and available insurance when seeking a psychotherapist and/or psychiatrist.

What is the age old charge given to medical doctors: "Physician, Heal Thyself."

My opinion and recommendation: Go and get help for your bulimia. You need psychotherapy with an expert in treating eating disorders and you may or may not need medication. Medication will relieve some of the depression but is nowhere near the full answer to your problem.

Best of Luck

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