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Resident Doctors: Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Concerns

Resident Doctors: Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Concerns

Residency is, at a minimum, 3 years – with some surgical specializations taking training beyond 5 years. There’s no question that doctors-in-training undergo a lot of stress, as the stringent requirements take much time, money, and energy. As with any demanding profession, but especially in the medical field, mental health issues can arise if not cared for early on. Resident doctors often have very little extra time on their hands, with most placing their personal wellbeing on the line in turn for a quality education. What are the costs of this? Unfortunately, resident doctors are susceptible to depression, anxiety, and stress-related concerns, as their demands simply do not endorse self-care.

A 2018 study published in the Indian Journal of Social Psychiatry involved assessing responses from 520 resident doctors relating to depression, anxiety, and stress. Researchers found quite a high prevalence of depression (28%), anxiety (37%), and stress (24%), with the following reasons being reported for why: being junior, long duty hours, no job satisfaction, residents of clinical branches, not having any hobbies, and staying at a hostel.

Other studies have reported similar outcomes; for example, a 2016 study published in PLoS One assessed results from an anonymous online survey completed by 126 residents/fellows and 336 medical students. The researchers found that compared to national estimates, the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) was over five-fold for medical trainees. Overall, 33% of postgraduates and 32% of medical students reported a significant impact of depression and anxiety on their academic performance.

Due to such high prevalence of mental health and stress issues of resident doctors, more resources are being provided. Just last year, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a press release stating their current mission to prevent physician burnout, improve wellness, and reduce mental health stigma amongst doctors and trainees alike. Specifically, it states:

“The policy calls on state medical boards to evaluate a physician’s mental and physical health similarly, ensuring that a previously diagnosed mental health illness is not considered as a current impairment to practice.”

If you haven’t already, speak with someone from a professional treatment center to learn more about programs to best suit your needs. Optimal recovery is possible, and you are not alone in your pursuit for happiness, health, and wellbeing.

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