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What is the Occurrence of Anxiety and Depression Amongst Dentists?

What is the Occurrence of Anxiety and Depression Amongst Dentists?

Note: If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your life matters.

According to the American Dental Association’s (ADA) 2015 Health and Wellness Survey, a total of 11% of dentists surveyed were diagnosed with depression, 6% were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and 4% were suffering from panic attacks. A total of 28% of dentists involved in the study reported seeking help for their mental health, while 44% believed they could resolve their symptoms without seeking professional help. Dentists face unique pressures in their field, with strict guidelines and adherences to abide by.  The demands of those in this profession can take a toll on mental health, with many dentists experiencing direct affects of anxiety and depression in their personal and professional lives.

There is often a perception of and amongst dentists that because of their success, there is little to worry about. Jennifer Dean, a dentist in California, told Tonic Magazine“There’s a mixture of general societal taboo relating to depression along with a low tolerance for what is considered complaining from dentists. The prevailing perception is that dentists are successful and wealthy, so sympathy is, somewhat understandably, harder to come by.”

This lack of empathy can be quite taxing, with many unable to receive proper support as they experience workplace burnout, physical pain from the work they do, and mental anguish derived from either or both. Since dentists are not always the most well-liked amongst patients, particularly as they’re feared for “bringing” pain, dentists often have a difficult time building rapport with patients. This can cause anxiety and depression, as the perspective surrounding dentistry is often quite negative.

Another dentist, Jeffrey Rappaport, told Tonic“Generally people just don’t like going to the dentist. You’re in a career where nobody wants to see you and you’re the last place they want to come back to and it’s depressing.”

With anxiety and depression being risk-factors for those in the dental profession, it’s important to seek help if you’re noticing signs of either. Anxiety and depression can worsen if not treated, even placing one’s life at risk. Seek the help you need today.

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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