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January 2022

Suicide and burnout of physicians

Author(s): Wagner, R.

Journal/Book: Omega J Death Dying. 1996; 33: 26 Austin Ave, Amityville, NY 11701. Baywood Publ Co Inc. 255-263.

Abstract: Stressors and health risks in the medical profession are well documented but seldom openly discussed. Very often a ''conspiracy of silence'' about these stressors exists, and this conspiracy is allowed to continue because of denial and defensiveness. The most important stressors in the medical system result from the treatment of and care for patients. Other stressors are team conflicts, insecurity, lack of autonomy, large workload and increasing criticisms, expectations, and demands from the public. In addition, female doctors complain about the strain they experience in emergency services. They also especially suffer from the role-strain between job stressors and family responsibilities. Signs of these double-stressors can already be seen early in the medical course and mark the whole career of female doctors. Compared to the general population, the overall mortality rate of doctors decreased during the last decade, but is still worse than that of other professionals of comparable education. In particular the suicide rates are high, for males two to three times that of the general population, for females as much as five to six times. This is due to a high proportion of psychiatric diseases, particularly addiction and depression. We must keep in mind, that, despite being ''gods in white,'' a medical degree does not infer immunity to mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, or other self-destructive behaviors.

Note: Article Sonneck G, Univ Vienna, Inst Med Psychol, Severingasse 9, A-1090 Vienna, AUSTRIA

Keyword(s): WOMEN

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