View Full Version : Stress Level
08-22-2003, 01:35 PM
How stressful is this specialty compared to other specialties?
Someone recently told me that anesthesiologists have the highest suicide rate of medical specialists (2nd only to dentists). Is that due to the stress?
08-22-2003, 05:32 PM
Psychologists have the highest suicide attempt rate, anesthesiologists have the highest success rate, they have access to the drugs, and unlike other docs know exactly how much to take to kill themselves.
08-23-2003, 12:32 PM
Why would an anesthesiologist want to kill him/herself? Everyone on the forum makes it sound like the best job in the world, despite the stress.
It seems to me that when you are busy, you don't have time to focus on your own personal issues. Could it be that anesthesiologists have too much free time and dwell on "the case that went bad" or think about their own personal problems, and get depressed?
08-23-2003, 03:58 PM
I've wondered about the suicide rate too. Not knowing any anesthesiologists that have killed themselves, this is purely speculation...
It's got to be the access issue. You're giving fentanyl to people all day long, you have a little left over, other things in your life are swirling the toilet bowl (a key item), and then the doc says, what the hell, i'll try a little. This turns into a big habit until they off themselves either by accident (doubtful) or purposely because it's either that or face the idea of coming clean and losing job, face, license, etc...
Your IM doc would have to get a script (we don't have narcs in the office, maybe some docs do...), fill the script and then take it. Maybe that minor inconvenience inhibits them enough to stay out of trouble. Then they go home and get drunk! :)
08-24-2003, 01:43 AM
You know I've been wondering the same damn question. A resident this year committed suicide at my school, and I was thinking why the hell do I hear these stories about anesth offing themselves.
Here is what another student suggested (feel free to chime in): there is a disproportionate # of anesthiologists who are addicted to drugs or become addicted b/c of easy access. Addiction is a very powerful thing as we know, even if very few of us have experienced this first hand. You can't just logically think your way out of it and "just say no." So they become addicted like this resident did and sometimes OD.
Of course the actual % of anesthiologist who abuse drugs is tiny, but higher in relation. I really don't know if the job itself is considered one of the super stressful ones because a anesth doc once said that he just cruises from one OR room to another giving meds and monitoring pts.
08-24-2003, 08:03 AM
To throw in my 2 cents...
Some do relate anesthesiology as boring while they're observing, yet incredibly stressful when doing (especially so without adequate supervision).
Most of us, at some point in med school, learn to deal with at least the beginnings of a patient going down the tubes on the floor. This is considered a "stressful event".
In the OR, if it's your first month on your own, and your training program doesn't offer adeuqte supervision, imagine the stress of slowly watching your pt's sats drop? Or their ETCO2 starts slowly falling off or increasing? Pt becomes tachycardic despite no known significant blood loss? Epidural and/or spinal fails to set up well? Big vascular cases, when the ansurysm ruptures? Bronchspasm? Laryngospasm? 400lb pregnant women who forbid spinal/epidural and now need an emergent c/s? The healthy patient who, for no reason at all, just drop into true, verified asystole during an elective case and don't respond to the first round of epi and atropine? These things seem to happen faster in the OR, with many more possible explanations.
As I believe Tenesema stated, one of the elements to anesethesia seems to be the prevention of such disasters. Still, Bad Things happen. And when they do, it can be quite stressful.
Alas, these are just personal observations. I'll freely admit that I'm unqualified to say any more on stress levels. Would love to hear opinions from any residents out there.
08-24-2003, 10:13 AM
I've been hearing lots about the difficulty level of anesthesiology, and I'm concerned my score won't be enough for most programs. I have no interest in high-level places like Columbia, but I'd like to match at a decent, second-tier program. Anyone have advice?