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Even medical practitioners are susceptible to mental health problems

Even medical practitioners are susceptible to mental health problems

09 August | 0 Comments | By Rachael

Time and again, people with mental health problems are advised to seek professional help for correct diagnosis and treatment of their mental disorders from certified medical practitioners. However, one often overlooks the health professionals, who sometimes do not realize themselves that they are also susceptible to mental health problems.

Depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse are some of the most common mental health problems faced by physicians and nurses. Due to the fear of loss of reputation, job and confidentiality issues, they tend to remain silent and continue to treat patients. This may endanger not just doctors’ lives but also of those who are receiving care under their supervision.

Health practitioners need mental health support as much as the general population

So, what contributes to a physician’s poor mental health condition? A survey of nearly 2,000 physicians staying in the U.S. has revealed that despite half of them reporting to have met the criteria for a mental disorder, many avoided treatment. The primary cause of concern was not getting or losing their medical license; other reasons included lack of time and stigmatization. Graduating doctors, on the brink of starting their careers, are faced with questions related to mental health while answering questions on licensing forms. Disclosing one’s mental condition may raise fingers at their incapability to safely administer treatment and provide good care. This is why they choose to remain silent and continue delaying treatment.

According to a past survey that analyzed data from the United States National Violent Death Reporting System, out of 31,636 suicide victims, 203 were identified as physicians. Their suicides were connected to existing mental health disorder or job stress. The study also showed that the physicians had low rates of medication treatment, which increased their problems. An old study exploring alcohol and drug addiction among doctors revealed that working in a stressful and competitive work environment and easy accessibility of drugs, accelerated by the possibility of self-prescription, may be contributing factors in deteriorating mental health of anesthesiologists, surgeons, and general practice physicians.

Mark Vonnegut, an American pediatrician, has been writing about his own struggles with bipolar disorder and mental disorders that doctors have to bear with. He also talks about the underlying factors that are preventing doctors from availing mental health support, due to fear of its impact on their careers and patient-doctor relationships. In one of his narratives, published in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, he feels that since doctors are empathetic by profession and provide good care to their patients, they should be more proactive in seeking professional help for their own problems. There are also physician health programs that provide support to doctors with addiction problems, by referring them to the nation’s most respected drug treatment centers.

Road to recovery

If you feel like your mental problems are taking over your life and affecting your career or your capacity to perform well in school or college, you are advised to seek professional help. Mental disorders are treatable and early diagnosis of the symptoms can ensure early treatment.

The Arizona Mental Health Helpline representatives can help you get back on track by providing you and your loved ones with information about treatment programs that best suit your needs. Call us on our 24/7 helpline number (866) 606-7791 or chat with an expert to get details about the best mental health treatment centers in Arizona or if you want to know more about mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona.