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Doctors and Burnout: A Serious Issue with Major Consequences

Doctors and Burnout: A Serious Issue with Major Consequences

The medical field is considered one of the toughest professions on the market, and doctors are right in the limelight as they experience high amounts of pressure and stress on a daily basis. Family questions and demands, decisions to be made, and medical team to lead can all take a major toll on the mental health of many doctors, but unfortunately many do not seek help because they are considered the ones providing it, not obtaining it. Previous research has shown that doctors and other medical professionals alike fear of speaking up about mental health concerns due to stigma and in fear of losing status in their profession. Suppressing these high amounts of stress can lead to burnout, however, which can place a doctor’s mental health, performance – and career – in jeopardy.

Written from a physician’s perspective, a 2015 article published in the journal Family Practice Management emphasized 5 main causes for burnout:

  1. The practice itself requires a lot of energy in helping sick, scared, hurt, and dying people as well as their families.
  2. Your specific job, with all of its complexities (personal call rotation, compensation package, healthcare politics, provider groups, leadership, personality clashes, etc.) can have a mental toll.
  3. Many doctors in residency are trained to ignore their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for the demands of the position, which can make it more challenging to recharge; not to mention, the responsibilities associated with home life can be too much to bear at times.
  4. Medical education often promotes a number of character traits that set doctors up for mental health issues later down the line: 1) working harder as the solution to all problems, 2) placing the “weight of the world” on one’s shoulders, 3) an unacceptance to making mistakes, and expecting others to not make mistakes, either, and 4) that you must do everything on your own.
  5. Your direct supervisor can have a significant impact on the way you view your work.

A 2016 study published in the journal Healthcare found that doctors who experience burnout are more likely to make poorer decisions at work, display hostile attitudes towards patients, make more medical errors, and have more difficult relationships with coworkers. Burnout has also been shown to increase one’s risk for depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, fatigue, substance abuse, and even death by suicide. Don’t wait any longer to seek the help you need. Your life and happiness matter.

For more information on our treatment programs and services for professionals, call us today: 855-422-4129.

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