Resident Doctors Are More inclined to Depression, Feel Experts

Affecting nearly 6.7 percent of American adults every year, depression is one of the most shared mental disorders in the United States. Though information “depression” is often used as a synonym for sadness, it is much more than that – a serious mental disorder that needs immediate medical treatment. Untreated depression can rule to chronic mental disorder or generate suicidal thoughts in the patient.

Today, a lot of people find their job to be the culprit behind depression and other mental health conditions. When it comes to medical profession, the prevalence of depression increases manifold, which results in increased medical error and poor patient care. Known as physician depression, the condition is commonly seen in resident doctors, which results in high suicide rates among medicos.

Need to devise effective strategies for preventing and treating depression among physicians in training

According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), one in four young doctors experiences symptoms of depression. The study highlighted that depression in doctors is not only detrimental to the new physicians themselves but also to the patients they care for. “The increase in depression is surprising and important, especially in light of reforms that have been implemented over the years with the intent of improving the mental health of residents and the health of patients,” observed the study.

As part of the study, the researchers analyzed depressive symptoms in over 17,500 medical residents, after collating the data from 54 different studies conducted over a period of five decades. According to the findings, 28.8 percent of physicians-in-training exhibited signs of depression, with the rate of its occurrence increasing considerably during the study period.

It has been observed that doctors are more hesitant and secretive about their mental health condition than the general population owing to the stigma attached to mental disabilities. Many doctors believe that it is their responsibility to stay fit, both physically and mentally. consequently, when they are diagnosed with a serious mental disorder such as depression, to them it could average an end of their career in addition as reputation.

According to Dr. Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and a member of University of Michigan’s Depression Center, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, “The increase in depression is surprising and important, especially in light of reforms that have been implemented over the years with the intent of improving the mental health of residents and the health of patients.”

To combat this dilemma, many resident doctors with depression seek refuge in illegal drugs and alcohol. In most situations, alcohol abuse or dependence is a direct consequence of distress, including emotional exhaustion, suicidal ideation, depression and quality of life, found in doctors, especially surgeons. At times, the higher rate of substance abuse in doctors can be credited to their easy access to drugs and substances, as compared to the general population.

Leading a depression-free life is possible

If not treated timely, depression may mar the quality of life. The continued experiencing and pain push people into darkness and grief. It is necessary to seek expert advice to rid oneself of making depression a way of life. By seeking specialized or medical help as quickly as possible, one can considerably alleviate problems and challenges.

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