DSM 5 criteria for Medical Student Disorder

Fast forward 18 months from my last entry to Block 11B (or Block 12). Psychiatry, I felt a strong urge to write something about it after having spent the last couple of days trying to understand the difference between delirium, delusions, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform and schizophrenia all the while diagnosing myself a few times with each of the previously mentioned conditions. Psychiatry was pretty interesting, the lecturers weren’t the most exciting people in the world but at this point, anyone who gives off too much energy is annoying so I’m not complaining. It was a little too philosophical which was quite a new experience. I’ve learned a bunch of cool new stuff too though; like I finally understand what Alice Grey had, (Alzheimers) or why Rajesh Koothrappali can’t speak in front of women (persistent selective mutism). I can also say things like Pseudologia fantastica which is a really fancy way of saying pathological liar.
All in all 2016 has been a long year and it just doesn’t seem to want to end. People talk about the taxation of medical school all of the time, I hadn’t been able to fully relate to that till recently. I’ve been running on fumes for the better part of two months now. My studying efficiency has reduced quite drastically, having a hard time focusing, remembering things I’ve covered and I’m just always tired (I could sleep standing up tired). To make matters worst I’m having mini breakdown and anxiety attacks on the daily now. I get random tension headaches (yes I can say that now, I’ve covered some neuro) every second day so I literally have to continuously take pain killers because the traditional “take the night off to rest” is not an option right now.

In the mist of all this I’ve made what I consider a noble prize winning discovery. I have discovered a new mental disorder, I call it MSD which stands for ‘Medical Student Disorder‘. After almost two years in this place I’ve concluded that we’re all suffering from MSD.
It has an insidious onset, taking months to years to manifest, varies between people. It’s exacerbated by stress, sleep deprivation, constant studying and a bad coping mechanism. There are many risk factors but the highest is a successful application and enrollment into a medical school. Symptoms start off quite subtle; change in eating and sleeping pattern. Followed by exaggerated curiosity that turns into paranoia. The paranoia is manifested in the form of self-diagnosing and diagnoses of others with the rarest conditions. Every tall person must have acromegaly, every chubby person is suffering from Cushing’s syndrome, if they’re limping its Trendelenburg. In this block alone I’ve suffered from a bunch of psychotic, affective and personality disorders and such and such.
DSM 5 criteria for MSD requires one major and at least three minor symptoms;

– Major symptom – Be a medical student

– Minor symptoms;

  • self-diagnoses of every condition known to man
  • change in sleep pattern (insomnia or hypersomnia),
  • decreased or increase appetite,
  • abnormal relationship development (Naming a cadaver Sam and sharing your life drama with him in the dissection hall because he gets you),
  • desensitization (Thinking about having a fatty pizza for lunch while removing the subcutaneous fat from Sam abdomen’s)
  • social cognitions (difficulty to relating to normal people),
  • everyday you tell yourself you will get your life in order and everynight you tell yourself that tomorrow will be that day.
  • A random urge to binge drink (either before, after or during an exam).
  • Apathy towards your textbooks followed by intense guilt for not studying which you still ignore because you have apathy towards your textbooks.
  • Having an overwhelming amount of knowledge but thinking you’re immune to most pathologies (e.g. educating your mates at the local pub or the bartender serving about the effect of alcohol on the body while drinking your seventh round of the night).

It’s still too early in my studies on MSD  to confirm but I wouldn’t rule out signing all diagnosed patients to a mental asylum, I’m teasing but to be honest yes we’re all a little loco. We see the world in our own weird way – tell me this isn’t textbook psychosis.



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