Medical Student Syndrome Myth or Reality: My Experience

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"After getting sick countless times, I finally coped with the 'stressful stress' as tagged by my friends and I cultivated the habit of waking up earlier and burning the midnight candle"

At the end of reading this article, you will;

  • Have experience of how medical student life is
  • Meaning of medical student syndrome
  • Meaning of MSS
  • Causes of MSS
  • How to avoid MSS
  • Meaning of Nosophobia and Hydrochondriasis.

My Experience in Medical School (2nd Year)

My experience with Medical student syndrome
My medical school experience

I walked out of the consulting room looking confused, disturbed, and disappointed.

Yes! I was confused because I thought I had it, disturbed because I was still watering the feelings of having it while the doctor said I didn’t and disappointed because I had thought a lot about it.

Yes, I was once a victim of Medical Student Syndrome.

Then, I was in 200l, Medicine, and Surgery.

Still harboring the fulfillment of being a medical student, I came out with flying colors in all offered courses when I was in 100l and got promoted to 200l as a first-class student.

I mean our clinical classes started then and our stressful life’s appeared smiling widely at us gnashing it’s teeth.

Imagine waking up as early as 3:30 am, leaving for school even before morning itself ‘woke up’, doing practicals, writing unending notes, memorizing a lot, getting home late, having a quick dinner; you know what I am talking about, right?

Flakes and noodles, as usual, reviewed the lecture notes, did assignments, prepared practical reports, and read as much as I could.

They became so sudden to me and I had a hard time trying to cope with the rigorous academic stresses.

That’s what exactly a medical student’s life is!

My Experience of Medical Student Syndrome

My experience with Psych student syndrome
My experience with Psych student syndrome

After getting sick countless times, I finally coped with the ‘stressful stress’ as tagged by my friends and I cultivated the habit of waking up earlier and burning the midnight candle.

That was the first challenge I tackled.

As expected, we were introduced to many diseases and other medical literature and that was when I became the victim of medical students syndrome.

“These days, I being sensitive to sounds and physical touch, why do you think that’s happening?”, I asked a friend of mine one cold night after devouring a plate of spaghetti.

“Probably because you like reading in a very serene area and now that you need to read a lot, you got used to it” he explained and I nodded.

“And the physical touch?”

“You are spending too much time with yourself, you don’t have time for others, simple!”, he replied that night angrily rushing into the room to get water.

I smirked seeing him rush in.

“Why is he talking like that?

It’s becoming too much though, why do I get so sensitive to sound and touch?”, I asked myself thinking of all possible causes.

After concluding with what my friend said, I rewrote all the kitty’s notes, and read and did all my assignments.

The next day, we experienced the same stressful life and I got home late.

That continued day by day.

Getting Myself Diagnosed with Medical Student’s Disease

Later, I noticed I had difficulty expressing myself to people, and getting used to my school, library, and hostel lifestyle.

I found it difficult to keep friends and relate with many.

I informed my friend as always and his reply was,

“Hey! You are a medical student, of course, you have no time to whine with people, it’s because you don’t have enough time to relate with them….”

“But what if….”, I argued

“What if what!”, he snapped angrily and I let the discussion off.

To me, I felt my friend didn’t understand me or probably he wasn’t aware of it because I actually told myself that I was an ALEXIMYTHIA patient.

Yes! Inability to express emotions, not relating with people, and sensitivity to touch and sounds?

Isn’t that Aleximythia? Or not?

Am I a patient already?

What caused it? Sis, have any traumatic experiences?

That was how I diagnosed myself to be an Aleximythia patient.

After considering the advice of all, I decided to consult the doctor, but to my surprise, the result was capital negative of course!

What is Medical Student Syndrome

Medical Student Syndrome is also known as Second-year syndrome, Intern syndrome, psych student syndrome, or medical Student disease.

Medical Students Syndrome (MSS) as defined can occur when medical students experience health-related anxiety while studying a particular disease as a result of them falsely relating their symptoms to the disease being studied.

Research revealed the fact that about 70% to 80% of medical students experienced medical student syndrome.

Medical Students As The Most Common Patients Of Psych Student Syndrome

Studying medicine and other related medical courses is a stressful journey to embark on which brings about physical and mental negative health consequences and at worst inability to cope with rigorous academic stress.

This successfully makes medical students relate previously neglected symptoms to the newly obtained knowledge.

According to research, Limited studies in the Eastern Mediterranean region revealed that “the prevalence of the disorder varies from 11.9% to 16%.

The present study aimed to investigate the frequency and related factors of medical students’ syndrome among medical students in Kerman University of medical”.

Nosophobia And Hydrochondriasis Aren’t Medical Student Syndrome

Nosophobia

This can be defined as the extreme or irrational fear of developing or having a specific disease.

Hypochondriasis

This is a psychological disorder that brings about the fears of having a serious disease based on a misinterpretation of bodily symptoms even after being confirmed not to be by medical evaluation or just having an idea of it.

It has been misunderstood by people who think Nosophobia and Hydrochondriasis are the same as medical student syndrome.

No! They aren’t, one is a phobia and the order is a psychological disorder while medical student syndesmosis.

Is Medical Student Syndrome Real?

Is Medical Student Syndrome Real?
Is Medical Student Syndrome Real?

Even after reading my experience, you will still be thinking of how true medical student syndrome is, and of course, it’s real.

Do you have an idea of how far I nurtured this syndrome?

For a long period of time, I groomed the idea of being an Aleximythia patient when I wasn’t one!

I could remember vividly when we resumed school after getting promoted to 200l when our Departmental Dean addressed us warning us of this particular syndrome.

“You shouldn’t do a self-diagnosis and always have it in mind that reading about a disease and seeing one or two symptoms of that disease with you doesn’t mean you are living with the disease”, 

he said continuously and I said to myself, “I won’t allow that to happen” though it really happened.

Medical Student Disease Doesn’t Only Occur In Medical Students

Medical Student Syndrome doesn’t only occur in students as predicted by most people.

Before the world approached the computer age, medical students are the only ones exposed to medical literature and are aware of different diseases with their causes, symptoms, effects, and treatments.

So, they were only at risk of being medical student syndrome patients but that was then!

Now, anybody can skim through the internet and get access to medical literature and that has increased rapidly medical student syndrome In people.

“Do I have Dyspnea too?”, “Why do I have difficulty in breathing sometimes?”, “And the chest pain?”, “Do I have fibrosis already?”, you can see people even who know nothing about medicine lamenting continuously staring and glaring into their computers’ screens.

That’s called ‘cyberchondria‘.

What Is Cyberchondria

Cyberchondria is when you look up symptoms with the use of Google and you get terrified of an incorrect diagnosis.

Yes! That’s it.

Try thinking about it, are you sure you have never had this feeling.

This is the main cause of medical students syndrome as researched.

How to Avoid Medical Students’ Syndrome

The first thing you should know is the fact that you have to avoid self-diagnosis even if you are a medical student, you don’t need to diagnose yourself and give yourself unnecessary stress.

Also, always consult your doctor, he is aware of the nook and cranny of it all and he is capable of diagnosing you the right way.

That is enough to avoid medical student syndrome.

Conclusion

Medical Student Syndrome is not a psychological disorder nor a syndrome.

It occurs not only in medical students but any other person due to easy accessibility to medical literature. However, it can be avoided by staying clear from self-diagnosis and consulting a doctor.

Also, looking up the internet for diagnosis should be avoided.

Why don’t you just go to the hospital and confirm whatever it’s? Why don’t consult your dictator immediately…

By Amirat Olawumi Bolarinwa

Bolarinwa Amirat Olawumi is a pharmacy student who has an indispensable passion for writing. She is a medical and content writer, poet and author with successful publications. She started writing at a tender age and is looking forward to making the medical world a better one with her pen!

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