A medical error can cost patients very dearly. At best, it will lead to an extra week of treatment and money spent on unnecessary medications, at worst, at worst – to the death of a person. Such responsibility cannot but exert psychological pressure on the medical staff, making his work more stressful, and his psychological state more unstable.
The problem of depression and suicide among medical students and doctors is relevant. One of the indicators is that this issue is always included in the lists of topics for term papers and other writings. A few months ago, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published an article whose authors analyzed suicide statistics in the United States in 2003-2010. The study showed those professions whose people are more prone to depression and suicide. Doctors, firefighters, police officers, farmers, military personnel and rescuers were found to be three times more at risk of committing suicide in the workplace. It is explained by high level of stress and great responsibility.
How many doctors suffer from depression?
A team of researchers led by Srijan Sen of the University of Michigan and Douglas Mata of Harvard medical school decided to find out how stress affects the psychological state of doctors. The researchers analyzed data from 54 studies conducted between January 1963 and September 2015 and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The research included data on the psychological state of 17560 doctors – from newly graduated students to highly qualified specialists.
It was reported that, on average, 28.8% of doctors suffered from a depressive psychological state (taking into consideration a fact that currently about 350 000 000 people worldwide suffer from depression, which is about 5% of the world’s population). At the same time, there were no significant statistical differences between the level of depression among students and experienced doctors, as well as among medical staff of different specialties. In addition, the analysis showed that over the 50 years studied, the proportion of depressed doctors gradually increased.