I Have Bipolar Disorder. Can I Be a Doctor?

What does it take to become a physician, and could a disease or condition hold you back from achieving that goal?

The following was originally posted to ShrinkRap.

Ah, one of our readers asked this.

It's one of those questions to which there is no real answer. Being a doctor takes a long time, it requires reliability, diligence, and a willingness to learn things you may not want to learn (organic chem anyone????) and do things you may not want to do. It requires endurance and passion. You need to be tolerant of many things: arrogant supervisors, irritable colleagues, sick people who may not be charming and who may, in their distress, be down-right nasty. You have to tolerate a militaristic order and be willing to work with a system that may be very difficult, wrong, and demand your obedience in ways that may be uncomfortable. Oh, I am so happy to no longer be a medical student or a resident in training.

So can you do it with bipolar disorder? Can you do it with diabetes? Can you do it with attention deficit problems? Can you do it if you're disorganized or ugly?

The question assumes there is one bipolar disorder, that for everyone it has the same course and the same prognosis.

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