Pharmacy school depression (5 Tips to cope)
In this blog we present to you some tips to cope with Pharmacy School depression.
We will also briefly discuss the prevalence of depression amongst pharmacy school students and the various factors that cause Pharmacy School depression.
Pharmacy school depression: Tips to cope
Some of the ways by which pharmacy school students can cope with stress and depression are:
Seek professional help
If the student feels that the pressure is getting to them and they are facing symptoms of depression and anxiety they could seek help and find a therapist that could guide them through their emotions and their feelings.
Depression can be deadly if it is left untreated. Many people can struggle with accepting the diagnosis itself while others may find themselves hopeful because of the validation that they aren’t just making up their struggle.
If you have not been diagnosed, do not stick to self diagnosis based on your symptoms. Seek out professional consultations starting with your GP who can refer you to specialists in the field.
Once you have been diagnosed, seek help. This means seeking the right kind of doctor and therapist for you. Be patient and take the time to consult with different doctors and professionals who are able to understand what you are going through.
Find opportunities to enjoy
The student should try their best to enjoy their course. Dish try and find fun moments and enjoyment even when things are tough or when the studies are becoming too much
According to positive psychology research, positive feelings are an important aspect of well-being.
For a person to engage in activities and other experiences that help them feel positive feelings such as love, belongingness, achievement, and a sense of hope is important.
Even if you do not want to, even if your body is refusing to- take that chance for yourself and choose to do something that makes you feel less miserable.
Seek positive relationships
They should find a group of friends or an environment that they feel safe in and feel that it would boost their productivity. Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing.
Talk to them about how you are feeling, allow them to get distracted while doing fun things together. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them.
Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships.
Set SMART goals
Survival is what we are looking at when we are unable to find reasons to keep going. So set your expectations for recovery realistic but it should also give you a sense of accomplishment that is personal to yourself.
Make goals for each day and let your goals be small, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound,
Make plans for your day that suit your pace- if today is especially difficult, make a step by step plan from your bed to the bathroom in the mornings.
Reward yourself when you succeed and be kind when you slip up. Remind yourself that you are learning.
Keeping a journal always goes a long way. It helps in tracking your emotions and your symptoms of anxiety or depression and allows you to strategies ways by which you could reduce the recurrence of those symptoms or if you need to seek help.
To be mindful is to notice what you do have in your present circumstances and instead of being critical and judgemental of the small town world, it is the act of taking the effort to notice the positives and experience gratitude for what you do have as opposed to what you do not have.
To start being more mindful, you can choose activities that you do during your daily life. By paying attention to what you say to yourself or by paying attention when you are doing certain tasks that make you happy.
The student should remember to take things one step at a time and solve their problems one at a time.
This means getting up at the same time, eating healthy meals, and instead of going to class, fill the day with things that bring you joy.
This could be as simple as watching a movie, petting your cat, taking your dog for a walk, eating ice cream. Do what makes you happy without judging yourself for these choices.
Towards the end of the day make sure that your routine includes a winddown period where you prep yourself with a healthy sleep routine that helps you relax like warm baths and reading.
Engage in self care
It is important that the student takes out time for their physical and mental health. Having a good sleep schedule and eating well is very important.
Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first.
You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself.
Pharmacy school is a very demanding course that puts a lot of pressure on the student. This pressure leads to prevalent depression, stress and anxiety among the students.
It is very difficult to become a pharmacist due to the course work and classes taken up in school along with the prerequisites to enter the school in the first place. Pharmacy students and pharmacists face a lot of pressure and stress, leading to burnout, anxiety and depression.
A study conducted in 2021 studied the prevalence of depression and anxiety among pharmacy school students; to compare the prevalence of symptoms of depression and anxiety between the first, second- and third-year pharmacy students.
The average range of the pharmacy students was 25 – 39 years of age. After receiving the scores and data, the scores were analysed using chi square. The response found that 33% percent of the students had clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and 22% of the students had clinically significant symptoms of depression.
The above study highlighted depression and anxiety is highly prevalent among medical students and hence better care of their mental health needs to be taken by the ones in charge.
What causes depression amongst pharmacy school students?
Some of the factors that lead to stress and anxiety among the pharmacy students are:
The process of getting into a pharmacy school itself is extremely difficult. The prerequisites to qualify to become a student of pharmacy are extremely high and very demanding.
The students feel this pressure from the time they are preparing to join pharmacy school and this pressure continues throughout the course as they feel that they have worked so hard they do not want to mess up their opportunity and hence put a lot more pressure on themselves.
The tuition for pharmacy school is not cheap and often students take a student loan to help them with their expenses. Apart from this is also the costing of living there, the rent and the cost of their books.
Most of the students have moved away from their homes in order to pursue this course in pharmacy. Staying away from family while being under so much pressure can take a toll on a person’s mental health and physical health
Heavy course load
After finally getting into pharmacy school, they are hit by the heavy course load and the amount of work that comes with the course. The syllabus is very vast, detailed and complicated and what makes it harder is that it needs to be learned within the 3-year time frame which is honestly not a lot of time.
Lack of social life
Due to the vast syllabus that needs to be covered, classes take up most of the day and the rest of the day is spent studying or working on projects and internships. They often do not find time for a proper social life and also cannot find time to interact with their family
Lack of self care
They often do not find time for themselves and lack self-care. This leads to a downfall in their physical and mental health. They do not have time for activities or hobbies that make them happy.
Due to the long hours of study, they often have sleepless nights and this affects their physical and mental health. The eating habits are also disturbed. Poor sleep and poor diet could also be one of the reasons for deteriorating mental health.
In this blog we presented to you some tips to cope with Pharmacy School depression.
We have also briefly discussed the prevalence of depression amongst pharmacy school students and the various factors that cause Pharmacy School depression.
FAQ related to Pharmacy School depression
Do pharmacists get depressed?
Yes, pharmacists do get depressed with a survey reporting that 64.5% of pharmacists reported that their stress levels have increased over the previous year mainly due to an increased workload.
What causes students to get depression?
Some of the major reasons why students get depression include stress, lack of support, low self esteem, as well as heavy course work.
Do pharmacists commit suicide?
Yes, pharamcists are at risk of commiting suicide. The NOMS data suggest that pharmacists are twice at risk to commit suicide when compared to the general public but the extent of the risk is unknown.
Is a pharmacist a high stress job?
As of recent years, pharmacists are stressed and the job has become a high stress job and a survey reporting that 64.5% of pharmacists reported that their stress levels have increased over the previous year mainly due to an increased workload.
Shangraw, A. M., Silvers, J., Warholak, T., & Vadiei, N. (2021). Prevalence of Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms Among Pharmacy Students. American journal of pharmaceutical education, 85(2), 8166. https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe8166
‘Pros and Cons of Pharmacy Schools’ Professional Development Path. Retrieved on 29th April 2022.
Kaitlyn Loi. ‘The 5 Hardest Things About Pharmacy School ‘.id stewardship. Retrieved on 29th April 2022. https://www.idstewardship.com/5-hardest-things-pharmacy-school/
Ryan Marotta. ‘Why Are Pharmacists, Pharmacy Students Burning Out?’ Pharmacy Times. Retrieved on 28th April 2022.
‘Coping With Burnout in the Pharmacy’ Pharmacy Times. Retrieved on 27th April 2022.