The mental illness would be paranoid schizophrenia. Is this highly unlikely? And would it be way too stressful of a career?
Lastly, are there any other medical professions that you would suggest?
A lot would depend on how well the disease is managed.
Does the person have prescribed meds, and, if so, are they faithful about taking them? How manageable are the side effects of the meds?
Do they have insight into their own behavior? Do they have a solid support system and trusted people who can tell them when they are starting to lose control? Do they listen when this happens? Do they have a backup plan for when things start to go downhill?
What kind of symptoms does this person have? If/when they become delusional, what happens?
Can they take the pressure of school, of a job?
Just off the top of my head, I'd say such an intense career field is probably not the best choice, but a really dedicated person can be full of surprises. I just saw the movie about Bill Porter (called Door to Door), a man with cerebral palsy who had a hunched gait, poor coordination, and speech problems. Although he was initially considered unemployable, he went on to become the top door-to-door salesman for the Watkins company. He had incredible persistence and drive and wouldn't take no for an answer.
His condition was stable, though. Paranoid schizophrenia may not be. The younger the person, the more labile their illness may be. Other stressors can exacerbate symptoms as well. On the flip side, many times as the person with this condition grows older, the symptoms lesson in frequency and severity, but all of this is a highly individual matter.
I would encourage such a person to seek the counsel of the treating physician and their own support people. I would also suggest that they contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or other resources and speak with smilar patients, especially those who have found a way to pursue demanding educational and career goals. These are the folks in the trenches. If anyone can offer meaningful advice, they'd be the ones.
Last edit by rn/writer on Oct 27, '11