Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A New Medical Illness

An e mail was sent to me today, it made me smile, so I thought I'd share it with you:

"Medical Training Anxiety and Stress disorder (MTAS)

A new psychiatric disorder is sweeping across the nation at an alarming rate. Officials have not yet been able to control the epidemic of a new condition that has been named Medical Training Anxiety and Stress (MTAS) disorder. The disorder, which appears to be affecting primarily junior doctors, is characterised by a previously unseen cluster of symptoms including thought disorder, hallucinations, escalating paranoia and obsessive behaviours.

Epidemiology and Aetiology
It is estimated that there have been as many as 34,000 new cases of MTAS disorder since January 2007, though this may be grossly underestimated. The lifetime risk for developing the disorder is thought to be as high as 100% in the at-risk groups. MTAS disorder appears to affects junior doctors at any stage in their careers and the severity does not appear to be affected by gender, race or duration of medical working life.

Clinical features MTAS disorder is characterised by a number of psychological and physical symptoms. Remarkably this disorder seems to be characterised by one common delusion; those affected are convinced that they are in regular communication with government officials via Internet websites and that their lives and career aspirations are being monitored. Thought insertion is a common symptom. Individuals describe government dictation of life plans, most specifically career choices. Many also report thought withdrawal, describing that previous career aspirations have been removed from their heads. Thought broadcasting is another common theme. Many individuals report that their thoughts and work-related experiences have been documented and broadcast via the Internet. Those affected have developed obsessive behaviours, repeatedly describing difficult cases they have been involved in, when their patients have made them feel upset or angry. Other obsessive behaviours have been observed; those affected are rendered incapable of being in the vicinity of a computer without trying repeatedly to access government websites describing grandiose ideas that they may be called to attend interviews across the lengths and breadths of the country at a moments notice. Physical symptoms include disturbed sleep pattern, palpitations, tachycardia and those with severe obsessive behaviours have developed repetitive strain injury from overuse of computers.

Early indications are that psychosocial therapies are ineffective in the management of MTAS disorder. Trials into medical therapies are continuing but so far anti-psychotic medications have done nothing to reduce paranoia, delusions or persecutions. The spectrum of symptoms is worsening despite frantic research and trials of therapy.

Though little known is known about MTAS Disorder it is thought to have a poor prognosis. The long-term effects are not known but there are indications of likely long-term psychological damage with significant destruction of morale, self-esteem and ambition. Experts have been called in but so far their efforts have been negligible. There are serious concerns regarding what is to become of the medical profession. The world will watch with scrutiny over the next few months as the disaster unfolds."


Anonymous said...

When I did my Psychotherapy training in 2000 I saw this in an old journal from the eighties.
good to know it's still doing the rounds !

Anonymous said...

Now what hope is there for us lesser mortals if you are going to be afflicted this way!

QUASAR9 said...

"There are serious concerns regarding what is to become of the medical profession. The world will watch with scrutiny over the next few months as the disaster unfolds"

lol Michelle, anybody would think you were talking about an endangered species, or famine in Africa. Maybe Bono & geldoff could do a fundraiser for these poor doctorsand the medical profession in the uk.

Thatcher's answer to british miners was to shut the uk mines, and import cheap coal from Poland.

QUASAR9 said...

PS - Good luck in the local elections!

Anonymous said...

I know loads of people with this..

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks Ellee - we may all be mortals, but you are certainly not lesser.

Thanks Quasar9 for the good luck. This post made me laugh when I was sent it - so glad you also found lol.

Thanks to all who wished my luck today in the elections... very much appreciated.


David Anthony said...

I think there's only one person involved with MTAS that has a mental problem!

Are you standing for election or have I missed something?

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

David - I'm standing in Kings Hedges...How about you?

David Anthony said...

Oh, I didn't realise. In that case, the very best of luck to you. I hope all goes well.

Just checked the ward on google, I see you are standing against Jesus ... how odd. ;)

No, I'm not standing. Maybe I should have, there was a complete lack of campaign here and the Lib Dems seem to be taking the place of Tories. It's getting to the point that I feel I should become more involved ... you can't complain if you are not involved after all.

Chrysalis said...

Just checking in to say hi Michelle, sorry I'm too late to wish you luck before hand.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is very funny. As a person who has been living with schizophrenia for 9 years and has battled thought broadcasting the whole time, without much help from doctors, it is good to see you can find humor in your work.

This is the problem with you doctors, you only think about yourself and your credientials and you think very little about what it is like walking in the shoes of a schizophrenic.

The truth is, we schizophrenics are stronger than you could ever be, and it shows