View Full Version : dismissed from medical school, is ADD the cause??


kqhong
05-26-16, 08:47 PM
Hello everyone,

This post may be a little long, but I'd greatly appreciate any input you may have.

I was dismissed from medical school after the first 2 rotations. I was given the opportunity to appeal, which I strongly considered because I felt like I exhibited many of the symptoms associated with inattentive ADD (unable to organize my SOAP notes properly, unable to focus on my patient when interviewing them, etc...) but I decided to apply for pharmacy school because I didn't want to waste any time. I got into a 3 year program and was even given a scholarship.

However, over the past few weeks, I've been particularly bothered. I am not worried about the classroom years of pharmacy school, but I feel like I am going to struggle when out in the pharmacy. I decided to go to a psychiatrist to get full closure and explained to him my situation. He diagnosed me with ADD and says that I have a case for an appeal. Here are some other key facts:

-I struggled first 2 years of medical school and barely passed my step 1.
-Faculty accused me (indirectly) of just wanting to do the minimum to pass, when in reality I had visions of scoring high on step 1.
-my struggles date back to elementary school, but because I grew up in an underachieving area, the teachers always focused on other students. The symptoms were much worse in college.
-the psychiatrist I am seeing is part of a case study testing the effects of a new drug on patients with ADHD/ADHD symptoms, so I am wondering if there is financial incentive.

My question is: what should I do? I've been flip flopping between going through with pharmacy school, or appealing to my medical school for weeks now, and it's driving me crazy!

If there is anything that needs to be clarified, please do not hesitate to ask!

ginniebean
05-27-16, 01:46 AM
I don't know if anyone can tell you what to do. At least not on here. Hmm look up a doc who has a blog called attentionality. Write him maybe he can help you sort thru it.

DJ Bill
05-27-16, 10:45 AM
Good thing you caught it now, and not 40 years from now. Best wishes for a good career of your choice!
Is it possible to do the pharmacy thing so you have some income while you are getting your MD? Or do it first, build up some cash, then go back to school?

First things first however....Get that ADD treated, not just diagnosed. Just getting to where you have strategies in place to lessen the impact of ADD on your life, and possibly meds to attack the chemistry part of it, is step one. If you think that doc is biased due to the testing, find another.. My gut tells me that a doc who is conducting a study about add is probably pretty knowledgeable about it, however..

acdc01
05-28-16, 07:08 AM
June's only about to start. Can you try the meds, and appeal your med school first without dropping out of pharmacy school yet?

Meds start working right away usually though I don't know about this experimental drug.

So you have time to see if you think you'll be able to handle med school on meds before making a decision.

acdc01
05-28-16, 07:10 AM
Also, can you see yourself happy as a pharmacist? If not, with adhd, life becomes infinity harder if we aren't happy and interested in what we do.

BBSurf37
05-28-16, 11:03 AM
Step 1. Get the MEDS you need for the ADD
Step 2. Appeal to the board to get back to MD school
Step 3. Work hard and become a DR

Little Missy
05-28-16, 12:36 PM
Step 1. Get the MEDS you need for the ADD
Step 2. Appeal to the board to get back to MD school
Step 3. Work hard and become a DR

:goodpost:

kqhong
05-28-16, 01:52 PM
June's only about to start. Can you try the meds, and appeal your med school first without dropping out of pharmacy school yet?

Meds start working right away usually though I don't know about this experimental drug.

So you have time to see if you think you'll be able to handle med school on meds before making a decision.

The medication is Vortioxetine, an atypical antidepressant, and the study is testing its effects on on ADHD. The study is a double blind, so I might have the placebo or the real thing. I have taken it for a little over 3 weeks now, and I am pretty sure I have a placebo (my symptoms haven't changed for better or worse, and I don't feel any of the side effects associated with Vortioxetine).

acdc01
05-29-16, 08:58 AM
The medication is Vortioxetine, an atypical antidepressant, and the study is testing its effects on on ADHD. The study is a double blind, so I might have the placebo or the real thing. I have taken it for a little over 3 weeks now, and I am pretty sure I have a placebo (my symptoms haven't changed for better or worse, and I don't feel any of the side effects associated with Vortioxetine).

How much longer is the trial? Can you get out of it?

You can try different meds afterwards. They are fast acting. Can you think of accommodations that would help your performance in your rotations?

If you can, you can request those after you've won your appeal.

Seems to me you don't really want to be a pharmacist and you really want to be a doctor. If I'm right then you should go for the Dr route. Doing a job we don't love is pure suffering for us and not really an option though I'd definitely hold on to that scholarship for as long as you can before your forced to make a decision .

kqhong
05-29-16, 12:32 PM
How much longer is the trial? Can you get out of it?

You can try different meds afterwards. They are fast acting. Can you think of accommodations that would help your performance in your rotations?

If you can, you can request those after you've won your appeal.

Seems to me you don't really want to be a pharmacist and you really want to be a doctor. If I'm right then you should go for the Dr route. Doing a job we don't love is pure suffering for us and not really an option though I'd definitely hold on to that scholarship for as long as you can before your forced to make a decision .

I can back out of the study any time, to be honest I only joined because I was looking for ways to make money, and this killed two birds with one stone.

Regarding accommodations, i don't think I'd be able to get any. ADHD or not, in med school if you take too much time with patients, you will fail, simple as that. That or they simply won't hire you later on, they will simply hire someone more efficient

Hiddencreations
05-29-16, 09:04 PM
I can back out of the study any time, to be honest I only joined because I was looking for ways to make money, and this killed two birds with one stone.

Regarding accommodations, i don't think I'd be able to get any. ADHD or not, in med school if you take too much time with patients, you will fail, simple as that. That or they simply won't hire you later on, they will simply hire someone more efficient

You are legally able to get accommodations under Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and these accommodations are not allowed to be disclosed to future employers without your permission under HIPPA and FERPA. And how a person performs academically is not always correlated with how they practically apply their knowledge.

I am in grad school for a field (School psychology) that requires strict federally-mandated deadlines. Maintaining those deadlines are different from whether I can complete an exam in the required time or whether or not I can write an exam in the allotted time.

I read the thread in the Diagnosis forum: so you are diagnosed with ADD (now ADHD)? :confused: Or are you looking for another psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis because you are unsure if the psychiatrist's is benefiting, scholarly and financially, by diagnosing you with ADD?

acdc01
05-29-16, 09:05 PM
I'd definitely try some other meds then before giving up on your dreams. Tell your Dr your time limitation on figuring out a med that works for you so hopefully he won't waste your time keeping you on too low doses for too long.

Also, do you exercise and do other things that keeps your stress limited and you happy and healthy? They can make a big difference too sometimes.

Is it hard to get a job after graduating, to the point where you can't find one if you disclose and request what you are legally entitled to? I was thinking for accommodations maybe someone else gives you a copy of their notes. Perhaps you could not work the same number of hours that other students work? If you are sleepy and overworked, your symptoms would get way worse. I wonder if there are some doctors here that can better advise you in terms of accommodations. I wouldn't mention accommodations till after you are successful in your appeal.

kqhong
05-29-16, 10:41 PM
You are legally able to get accommodations under Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and these accommodations are not allowed to be disclosed to future employers without your permission under HIPPA and FERPA. And how a person performs academically is not always correlated with how they practically apply their knowledge.

I am in grad school for a field (School psychology) that requires strict federally-mandated deadlines. Maintaining those deadlines are different from whether I can complete an exam in the required time or whether or not I can write an exam in the allotted time.

I read the thread in the Diagnosis forum: so you are diagnosed with ADD (now ADHD)? :confused: Or are you looking for another psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis because you are unsure if the psychiatrist's is benefiting, scholarly and financially, by diagnosing you with ADD?

The thing is, I was not a paying customer with this psychiatrist, so I honestly am not certain. For example, I came in with my whole story ready to spill out, but he didn't want to hear most of it. Most notably, we didn't really explore my childhood, which is rightfully crucial to a diagnosis (I have another post here saying that 2, possibly 3 symptoms affected me greatly, but I don't know if that works or be enough for a diagnosis)

So to answer your question: yes, I am seeking a second opinion. I guess I am wondering if it is worth it, having said all of this

Hiddencreations
05-29-16, 11:48 PM
The thing is, I was not a paying customer with this psychiatrist, so I honestly am not certain. For example, I came in with my whole story ready to spill out, but he didn't want to hear most of it. Most notably, we didn't really explore my childhood, which is rightfully crucial to a diagnosis (I have another post here saying that 2, possibly 3 symptoms affected me greatly, but I don't know if that works or be enough for a diagnosis)

So to answer your question: yes, I am seeking a second opinion. I guess I am wondering if it is worth it, having said all of this

Thanks! That helps. It never hurts to get a second opinion, especially if you feel the first one was biased or lacking thoroughness.

For the appeal process---

What role will ADHD have in the appeals? Or what role do you think or plan for it to have in your appeal? What do you anticipate the reaction to be from the medical school about undiagnosed ADHD being a role in academic performance?

Also, was there a deadline to appeal the decision because often schools have those? Because that determines how fast you would need to move to find a psychiatrist.

ADaptHD
05-30-16, 04:04 AM
I don't know what the appeals process is like, but my guess is that if you have a plan in place for treating the ADHD that will go a long way. Then you can make the case "I was dealing with undiagnosed ADHD last year, but now I have a diagnosis, and such-and-such coping strategies in place, and I'm taking such-and-such meds, so I anticipate having an entirely different experience next year."

When you say the faculty implied you were doing the minimum work to pass, that's very consistent with ADHD. If you have ADHD, a lot of people will just assume you're lazy.

I think it's definitely worth the work of trying a stimulant medication and learning as much as you can about coping strategies that'll help you do things in a way that works with your ADHD brain. Treating ADHD can be life-changing and it can absolutely make the difference between being able to get an advanced degree and having to drop out.

Hiddencreations
05-30-16, 09:38 AM
Forgot something--If you do appeal the decision, you may want to ask them to consider either outright reinstatement OR allowing the dismissal to be changed to a medical leave of absence (LOA). That way there are multiple options which can increase the likelihood of being re-instated.

A medical leave of absence would give you more time to find the right medication, maybe meet with an ADHD coach or someone who can quickly help you acquire or learn some coping skills. It also allows you time to set a plan and get organized for when the semester does start.

kqhong
06-10-16, 08:26 PM
Thanks! That helps. It never hurts to get a second opinion, especially if you feel the first one was biased or lacking thoroughness.

For the appeal process---

What role will ADHD have in the appeals? Or what role do you think or plan for it to have in your appeal? What do you anticipate the reaction to be from the medical school about undiagnosed ADHD being a role in academic performance?

Also, was there a deadline to appeal the decision because often schools have those? Because that determines how fast you would need to move to find a psychiatrist.

One of my school's criteria for filing an appeal is (and I paraphrase) "The presence of new information that wasn't present before". To be completely honest, I don't think I would have a problem winning my appeal because my school is actually very accomodating regarding that (also, they'd be afraid of a lawsuit, but let's not get into that).

Regarding a deadline, I pretty much have until next June. The thing is, like I said I have a pretty sweet deal with a pharmacy school set up for this August, and I want to be able to move on with my life, whatever that may mean.

I guess my point is this: worse case scenario, I reenter medical school rotations and my problems are not solved, and I have aged further with more debt and nothing to show for it. Then again, the fact that I am even having those doubts about medical school would suggest that maybe I should just move on with my pharmacy school plans

I greatly appreciate any input from anyone here!

ToneTone
06-21-16, 11:53 PM
OK, the good news is you have options ... and if you're possibly seeking reinstatement for next June, that gives you some time to get treated, to find a good psychiatrist and a good therapist ... and to go through some different dosages of medications ....


I would say enjoy pharmacy school for now ... and get to a really good psychiatrist (you're gonna have to pay) ... and get on one of the standard medications for ADHD ... You need to try out this medication and go through the trial-and-error and fine-tine process that we all go through. It takes time to find the best med and the best dosage of that med. Everyone reacts differently to meds and heck, I have reacted differently to the same med taking it at different times of my life. As you'll be learning in Pharmacy school, dosage makes the medicine... But often it takes time to get to the right dose of a med ... because the stimulants can have side effects like insomnia ... so doctors start people out often on the lowest dose, which is often not that effective.

Now, once you start taking meds, you can't just be passive. You have to evaluate how you're doing and figure out what the med does ... vs. what you'll have to do ...

These meds aren't magic ... But they can provide a significant boost. And you will need to figure out what YOU need to do to complement the med. Some meds provide incredible motivation ... some minds quiet the brain and aren't so great on motivation ...

There is another angle ... besides the medication and besides figuring out your own role ... you need to address how ADHD has left you disadvantaged ... Often the condition undermines confidence ... makes us feel totally weird and ashamed of our "weirdness" ... and a lot of people have a lot of failure in their lives based on ADHD. That history of failure doesn't magically disappear based on a med. The memory of failure is still there. That's where a lot of us are helped by therapy.

I'd tried and failed with a planner for umpteen times ... but guess what! ... Once I got treated, I had to make myself try again ... and lo and behold, for about the last 5 years, I have consistently used a planner ... and I've gotten better at using it.

So bottom line: you can take time to get your together in the next year ... And I would be very honest with the med school folks ... I would imagine you could be reinstated, but you want to be ready ... so that you are NOT overly stressed.

To be honest, I would say if you return to med school, you want to make sure you have a therapist doing that first year, someone you can consult week to week.

BTW:Psychiatrists focus these days mainly on giving out meds ... Yes, they do some talking and yes there are some holdouts who focus on talk therapy ... But increasingly, they are about meds or in the medical jargon "medication management." And they keep medication management appointments short ... unless you are going to someone outside of insurance who charges a lot of money.

Good luck.

Tone