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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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A lot of traumatic things have happened recently in my life.

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Hi,A lot of traumatic things have happened recently in my life. Most of them are over now, yet still I cannot focus, and am really stressed out most of the time about schoolwork. I am a full time student at UVA, and have a super challenging workload this year. When I try to sit down and study, I end up procrastinating for hours, or going to sleep, and not getting any work done, which ends up stressing me out more. I am typically a good student, but lately I cannot seem to focus or get anything done. What do you suggest? Should I see a psychiatrist?
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
Let me ask you a few questions first.
What kind of traumatic events have happened to you?
Have you ever had this problem before?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi,In the past I have had some trouble focusing on school work, but not nearly this bad. I would simply have to go somewhere where I wasn't distracted, and then I'd be able to work.Recent events:Possibly being diagnosed with Cushings Disease (I will know for sure in the next week when the lab results come back). If it's not Cushing's it's something else because I haven't had a menstral cycle in the last 3 months, and am not pregnant.Parents recently splitting up.Taking a difficult Bio class at UVA and getting my first D on an exam. (possibly due to not being able to focus enough to study well)Last year I got mostly A's. Grades and academics are really important to me, and it stresses me out not to be able to focus and do well.
Hi there
Thank you for your reply.
I'm sorry to hear what you are going through.
It sounds like you have been under enormous stress.
Whether you have Cushings Disease or something else, your physical and mental condition might have to do with recent stress level as you never had this problem before.
Indeed, parents' separation and demanding coursework at UVA are causing lots of stress in you.
Your difficulty focusing may be indicative of mild depression and anxiety.
Yes, you need to get a physical check-up from your primary care doctor to detect and rule out any medical condition that may cause or contribute to your current condition.
Then I would advise you to start seeing a counselor such as a counselor at your college counseling center or a licensed psychotherapist in your area.
You may ask your doctor for a psychologist/psychotherapist that you can work with weekly. Or you may call your insurance company and get a list of providers (licensed psychologists or psychotherapists) in your area.
Or, you can search a licensed psychologist on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to ( and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty such as Depression. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-behavior therapy and Depression. You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that you want to work with – Male or female? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So you can see it as an informational meeting. You can ask any question and negotiate psychotherapy fee.
If you have no health insurance or seek a low fee counseling, you may call The United Way toll free # 211 (Dial 2-1-1)to find the community mental health centers in your area in which you can get counseling even without health insurance.
Also, a heart-healthy diet like Omega 3 fatty acid may improve your brain functioning and mood. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. Hydrate yourself during daytime.
Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This may help improve your mood.
Other recommendations are:
Avoid use of alcohol and drugs.
Sleep in complete darkness and try to be out in bright light during the day.
Spend time in nature weekly
Please let me know if you have more questions.
All the best,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have already seen my regular doctor. He is the one who is testing me for Cushings. I eat extremely healthy food--tons of greens, seeds, fruits, etc and I take vitamins. I feel like I am doing what I can, and it's not working. Could I have ADD, ADHD, or an anxiety disorder? In order to be evaluated/diagnosed, should I see a psychologist or a psychiatrist? Is there anything I could do in the mean time that I'm not already doing to help with my schoolwork focus?
Hi there
Thanks for your reply.
I was offline all day.
I"ll be back with my answer today.
Hi there
Thank you for waiting.
You'll find out whether you actually have a medical condition from your doctor.
If your doctor doesn't find any medical condition including Cushings Disease, perhaps your current condition may be mild depression or anxiety.
To note, if you have ADD/ADHD, you must have had it since childhood.
It doesn't sound like you have ADD/ADHD as you have been able to focus tasks before.
I would advise you to see a clinical psychologist for assessment/testing to get an accurate diagnosis.
Please let me know if you have any question,
All the best
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