Be cautious of Shift Work Syndrome medication
I work early morning and late evening shifts teaching English to adults and I need some advice on the use of Provigil for Shift Work Syndrome. Is Provigil available in Korea? Who can prescribe this drug? What are the side effects? Are there any dangerous reactions with other anti-psychotics such as Abillify? (Sleepless in Seoul)
DEAR SLEEPLESS IN SEOUL,
It seems that you are very sleepy while you are teaching because you start work early in the morning. As you know Provigil is a strong CNS stimulant so it is effective in keeping you alert and awake. However, it should not be abused to tackle sleepiness. Provigil should only be used for narcolepsy. Some side effects are nervousness and anxiety attacks.
There are differences between narcolepsy and the Shift Work Syndrome you may be suffering due to your work schedule.
Narcolepsy means the condition of excessive sleepiness all of sudden for no reason. For example, a narcolepsy patient cannot help falling asleep even when he is eating, working, or after driving for about 10 to 20 minutes without explanation.
Of course Provigil is available here in Korea, and you can find it at the pharmacy. But you have to be diagnosed with narcolepsy first by a doctor to get a prescription.
If you are taking anti-psychotics such as Abilify, you should be careful not to take it with the CNS stimulants like Provigil because it could make your psychotic symptoms worse.
DEAR DR. P,
I have been dating a wonderful Korean girl for six months now. I love spending time with her, and she seems real happy with me. She works many hours and our time together seems to never be enough. I have asked her to cut back on her schedule so that we can have more time to date. She looks at this as a waste of time. I of course think time spent together is well worth it. Are the cultural differences too wide to bridge on this issue? Should I give it some time or will she never change. Money is not an issue as I can support the two of us with ease. (Smitten in Seoul)
DEAR SMITTEN IN SEOUL,
Spending as much time as possible with your lover is the most desirable thing that every person in love wishes for. Another important thing in the relationship is to respect what your girlfriend really wants. The ideal thing is to allow the relationship to mature and to help each other develop your combined lives through love.
At this point, no matter how much money you have, it is not proper if you attempt to influence your girlfriend’s professional life. Try to understand her situation and spend time together under conditions that do not interfere with each other’s lives.
To share love with each other is to meet face-to-face but sending emails or text messages and talking to each other on the phone can help develop the relationship.
Park Jin-seng is a psychiatrist who runs a clinic for foreigners in Seoul and operates the personal therapist forums on www.lifeinkorea.com. Please submit questions for Park to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the hotline at 1588-4276.