Skip to main content

Table 1 Frequency of students advising psychotropic medication

From: Advising adolescents on the use of psychotropic medication: attitudes among medical and psychology students

Case descriptions Medical students Psycho students
Case 1: Julie, aged 20, 2nd year French student, living in a hostel for 3 months, goes home every weekend, oldest child in the family with 3 younger brothers, aged 5, 10 and 15.
Health and psychosomatic disorders: suicide attempt one year ago, many somatic symptoms: headaches, nausea, constipation, digestive disorders, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and anxiety, which has decreased since a loving relationship began.
17.1% 15.8%
Case 2: Patrick, aged 19, final year in a secondary school, and lives with his mother, his step-father and his two half brothers. When he was 15, he learned that his foster father was not his biological father. At the moment he is trying to get closer to his father, whom he does not know. The request for a consultation came from the family, and concerns his 'tantrums': he is drunk most of the time and becomes very violent – verbally as well as physically. He can go to extremes, provoking fights or riding his motorbike at 200 kph, and has no memory of anything the next day. His family no longer recognizes him as being himself. 82.9% 42.1%***
Case 3: Nadia, aged 20, is a final year student in a secondary school: she lives at home with her parents and 2 brothers. In the course of this year, many conflicts have appeared. At school her role as class delegate has caused problems. At home, she complains about a lack of understanding by her parents. At the moment she suffers fromviolent headaches, difficulties in going to sleep and a loss of appetite. She suffers from anxiety, is world weary, and thinks of attempting suicide. 61.0% 44.7%*
Case 4: Philippe, aged 20, is a 2nd year student in a school of engineering and lives in a student residence. After intellectual burn-out he did not take his exams and now feels discredited and guilty in the face of his parents who finance his studies. At the moment he feels tired, and apathetic. He is riddled with doubts and wonders about his future. He also feels a lack of interest in anything and tends to retreat inside himself. 17.1% 14.5%
Case 5: Claire, aged 19, is a 2nd year student reading physics and chemistry. She lives at home with her parents but the family atmosphere has become very tense over recent months. Claire's father is very authoritarian and always wants to control her every action, especially concerning her love life. A few days ago she ran away from home to join a friend. At the moment she complains of intense tiredness, says she is depressed, has doubts and hesitations and is always afraid of upsetting someone or doing something badly. 14.6% 6.6%
Case 6: Emmanuel, aged 18, is in year 11 and lives at home. He feels very lonely and would like to have someone to confide in. He says that he suffers from having neither brothers nor sisters. He has started smoking heavily over the past few months, influenced by his friends. He presents motor coordination and verbal expression troubles, which he states would be a result of his intoxication. He says that he is troubled and needs to talk. 31.7% 18.4%
Case 7: Claudine, aged 20, is a 2nd year law student living with her father. Since her mother's death 4 years ago she has suffered from bouts of sadness. Her father offers her little emotional support and their relationship is painful to them both. These difficulties create a feeling of frustration and rejection in her. 26.8% 27.6%
Case 8: Azzedine, aged 17, is in the 1st year of "Maths SUP" (high-flyer studies) and lives in a student hall. Daily violent headaches prevent him from working as he would like. Their sudden and frequent onset makes him anxious all day about a new attack. He feels irritable, bad tempered and tends to avoid his friends more and more. 36.6% 23.7%
Case 9: Francesca, aged 20, dropped out during her vocational accounting training. She has been living with her boyfriend for almost a year. Her behavior has changed since she came back from a trip abroad with her father. She is obsessed with her weight and no longer eats. She claims not to feel particularly sad, but immense fatigue limits her actions. She often feels the need to purify herself, sometimes taking up to 4 showers a day. 36.6% 32.9%
Case 10: Mathieu, aged 19, is an apprentice garage mechanic, and has been living with his girlfriend for 2 years. He has been suffering from vertigo accompanied by a feeling of suffocation and oppression for some time. Because he is afraid of having an attack in public, he dares go out less and less. He says that he feels emptied of any energy and finds it impossible to take any initiatives. 63.4% 32.9%**
Case 11: Natacha, aged 20, has no training and no income. She lives with a friend after being placed in a welfare department home and then with a foster family. At present she is in major conflict with her friend and is tending to isolate herself more and more from any relationship. Having a gloomy character, she states that she is incapable of making any decision, however small, or taking any action. 14.6% 15.8%
Case 12: Frédéric, aged 20, is unemployed and shares a home with a friend. He consults because of a sleep disorder. He goes to sleep easily, but wakes up every morning at 4 a.m. and can't get back to sleep. He is tired during the day with drawn features and a lack of energy. He says that he is not particularly worried about his hunt for a job and would be able to look on the bright side of life if he didn't have the sleep disorder. 36.6% 19.7%*
Case 13: Elodie, aged 16, is a year 12 student and lives at home. Her mother, who comes with her, states that her daughter gained 10 kgs in a year. She does not each much during meals, but snacks a lot during the day and especially in the evening. She has problems accepting her classmates' scrutiny, feels ill at ease amongst them and has few friends. To make up for her relationship difficulties, she says that she 'throws herself' at her food, as soon as she arrives home. She would like to take appetite suppressors in order to help her stick to her diet. 17.1% 15.8%
Case 14: Michel, aged 17, is a final year school student, living at home. His brother died 5 months ago and since then, Michel has shown behavior troubles. He no longer dares cross the road for fear of being knocked down, or go swimming for fear of drowning. He can no longer make plans for the future and states that he sees his life in the short term. He seems very upset and anxious. 85.4% 73.7%
Case 15: Christelle, aged 21, is a hairdresser and lives at home with her parents. She is unstable and suffers from repeated emotional breakdowns, the last of which left her pessimistic and likely to avoid situations that could make her suffer. Since this failure, she eats or drinks nothing other than coffee with milk and suffers from insomnia. She says elsewhere that she no longer has any aims in life. 58.5% 28.9%**
Case 16: Kevin, aged 21, sells tickets in the suburban zone of the Paris underground. His working hours do not allow him to enjoy his day. He claims to be very sociable, but admits to being more and more afraid of crowds. He would like to change environments, but he needs this job to pay his rent. He feels invaded and oppressed and suffers from anxiety. 41.5% 15.8%***
Case 17: Valérie, aged 19, is working towards a vocational secretarial diploma and lives in a hostel. Her family relationships are quite poor and her social relationships are very flimsy. She feels rejected, is very irritable and has difficulty in accepting frustration. For some time she has been presenting a very destabilizing alternation of overexcitement and bouts of anxiety. 82.9% 51.3%***
Case 18: Franck, aged 17, is a year 12 student who lives at home with his parents. His sister brings him along because she is worried about her brother's poor school results. The problem started 6 months ago when their father, who is a long distance lorry driver, went to work abroad. The situation is worrying Franck and making him unstable. He feels sad and worried, abandoned and all alone in the world. 12.2% 2.6%
Case 19: Laëtitia, aged 20, is a checkout assistant, and lives with a childhood friend. She left her parents' home 2 years ago during a crisis in which she accused her stepfather of sexual abuse. Now she appears introverted, always in the background, and uncommunicative. She seems to be worried and reticent and says she is quite anxious about life in general. 39.0% 31.6%
Case 20: Jérôme, aged 20, is an apprentice mason and lives with his parents and younger brother. After a few minutes of silence, he says that his father sleeps all the time and does not do anything in the house. He then admits that his father has problems with alcohol and that he has just come back from drying out treatment. He states that he has too much responsibility at home, and feels that he is the pillar of the family. He feels fragile and disoriented, and says that he no longer has the strength and starts crying. 34.1% 34.2%
Total (all 20 case studies) 40.5% 27.3%***
  1. * p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001 levels of significance