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Physician suicide...why?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Pedsbro, May 9, 2008.

  1. Pedsbro

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    300-400 physicians commit suicide each YEAR, higher than the national average for all suicides. That's about the equivalent of 2-3 med school classes each year. See this site: http://www.doctorswithdepression.org/

    Take a look at the site and this news article also: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080509/ap_on_he_me/doctor_suicides;_ylt=Al3OXwiNjZ2k0WBpgoBEZmis0NUE

    Just curious what peoples' thoughts are on this troubling phenomenon that I personally had never heard of until reading about it. (i apologize if this thread already exists, but I haven't found it in pre-allo forums yet)
     
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  3. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    #2 ryandote, May 9, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  4. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow)
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    It always makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit when someone uses "free market" in a sentence about meeting basic health needs.
     
  5. paranoid_eyes

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    it makes me literally throw up when i read something like this :barf:
     
  6. Legato

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    Ignoring that article, that throwing up smiley is great.
     
  7. dArroway

    dArroway Gettin' my hood on
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    :scared:
     
  8. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow)
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    Good to know you feel your life and health are commodities to be traded like gold and oranges.
     
  9. dArroway

    dArroway Gettin' my hood on
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    ECON 101 in need

    LOL
     
  10. teachmed27

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    The article seems to point to the fact that mental illnesses carries a stigma within the profession and many stay silent. I assume that this is just one of the factors underlining this phenomenon.
     
  11. Pedsbro

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    True. I'm just wondering what specifically about this profession predisposes physicians to depression. Is it the current state of healthcare...more work/less pay. The legal environment where everyone left and right are bringing malpractice suits and driving up malprac insurance and other expenses for docs? Is it some impossible standard that the general population holds physicians to? Just floating some ideas...
     
  12. SeheePolyps

    SeheePolyps New Member
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    It makes me throw up when I use ipecac in my cereal instead of milk
     
  13. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna
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    don't ever become a dentist.
     
  14. pseudoknot

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    I can see that this thread is off to a bad start already...

    A major cause of this disparity is likely to be the fact that physicians tend to use more effective means for suicide attempts, especially women. In the general population, women make far more suicide attempts than men, but typically use less lethal means, and so have a much lower completion rate. In the physician population, the completion rate for men and women is about the same (therefore much higher than the general female population).

    This is not to say that more prevention efforts aren't needed, just as they are for other groups with high stress and access to lethal means (soldiers, police officers).
     
  15. pseudoknot

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    Oh, and the dentist thing is an urban legend.
     
  16. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    #15 ryandote, May 9, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  17. Pedsbro

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    Definitely a good point. I think the article said some schools are talking to their new med classes about resources available to deal with stress and depression, but you still have to deal with the stigma of seeking help...which I agree is also present in other professions..like the military.

    Edit: Do you any of you current med students have classes or seminars where they cover how to deal with stress and depression as the article mentioned?
     
  18. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    #17 ryandote, May 9, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  19. ryandote

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    #18 ryandote, May 9, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  20. nonesuchgirl

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    I wish I could eat popcorn because of lols but I can't. :(
     
  21. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow)
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    [/B]Yes, clearly thinking every taxpayer deserves basic, preventative healthcare is equivalent to giving "unicorns and lollipops" out.

    Let me guess, you think people without insurance "choose" to do so, right? And you think all people on welfare are leeches?
     
  22. Pedsbro

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    L
    Right or not, let's keep this on topic please...physician suicide. Feel free to start your own thread with this other stuff.:)
     
  23. nonesuchgirl

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    You aren't from around here, are you?
     
  24. Pedsbro

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    No I'm quite familiar with SDN and how legitimate threads can degenerate...but hey, I can try can't I?:D
     
  25. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    #24 ryandote, May 9, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  26. Doublecortin

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    :laugh::laugh::laugh:
    :eek:



    :(






    :barf:
     
  27. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
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    I think all of these reasons are correct and valid, but I also wonder if there is a difference between traditional and non-traditional medical students/doctors. Not a popular sentiment, but when I think about the fact that for a lot of traditional students, being a doctor is their first ever job, first ever paycheck... That's an enormous amount of responsibility, and taking on responsibility successfully is a skill. That's why we discourage teen parenting and marriage. And medicine is far more than taking care of patients - there are crazy politics involved, and if you end up in academia, you still need to publish - which means grants and research. And then you still have to go home and have a relationship with your spouse and kids.

    Being a doctor is crazy making, unless you have a great support system and some insight into yourself... stuff I still work on, at my advanced age.

    S.
     
  28. Doublecortin

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    that's your problem right there . . . the point is every taxpayer should be able to afford basic, preventative care, if he chooses to purchase it.

    Yes, many (if not most) people without insurance choose to go without it, because driving a new shining bmw and having that plasma tv is waay more important than having basic insurance.

    And yes, many people on welfare are leeches, it's basic human nature, really, why work for something when you can get for free
     
  29. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    #28 ryandote, May 9, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  30. nonesuchgirl

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    :rolleyes: Someone has to, I suppose.
     
  31. pseudoknot

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    Yes, that's what I was talking about in my post.

    And the term of choice is "completed" suicides, not "successful," for the reason you were alluding to.
     
  32. ryandote

    ryandote Member
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    #31 ryandote, May 9, 2008
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  33. SoyMilk

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    Uhhhh... Because they're unhappy.

    Probably because they busted their a** to get into medical school, feel like they've wasted a good part of their life to obtain a career which they didn't really want in the first place, where patients don't know a damn thing about their medical history and don't care to know, and where the only people who ever show you respect are people who have never been to the hospital.
     
  34. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    See they need doctors to monitor the health of doctors, to make sure the death rate of doctors are lowered. (yes... more medical jobs just opened up!)

    Maybe wanting to be a physician is a personality disorder that is also a predictor of suicidal tendencies. :scared:
     
  35. ysk1

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    Why suicide when you have the money and chicks?
     
  36. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    Yeah but then reality hits them as the drug they stole from work wears off
     
  37. AlternateSome1

    AlternateSome1 Burnt Out
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    The irony is that you consider food to be a commodity and not health. Which is more essential to life?
     
  38. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    The answer is neither. We run on faith alone :)
     
  39. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
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    :laugh: Well, it's certainly a personality disorder. Ask my husband. He thinks we're all a bunch of headcases, doctors and medical students and premeds alike... and I find it difficult to argue this with him.
     
  40. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me
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    There are a ton of factors that contribute to medical student and physician suicide. Some people are just miserable, but once you reach that full on doctor level I think there are other things at play. A major one is accessibility to drugs. Anesthesiologists have a higher rate than many other specialities. I don't think this is because they hate their life more than others, but rather the proximity they have to drugs that can lead to a nice painless death. Aside from that, there is massive pressure. Many people just never develop a coping mechanism. Many people that sign up for medicine sign up for the sexy aspects. They don't sign up for a$$hole patients, scut work, insurance issues, 70+ hour work weeks, and whatever else you can list. If you already suffer from depression and are going through all of that then the relative ease versus other professions is tempting. Suicide by other means is less common around the board. I don't have statistics so I can't testify completely about that.
     
  41. Quix

    Quix Herr Professor
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    It's a high stress profession, and you'll find that there are particular specialties that have higher than average prevalances (e.g., there are several specialties that are more able to label diseases than cure them (e.g., psychiatry, neurology, etc.), which makes it easy to ask the question "What's the point?"). Add to this the rising cost of malpractice insurance (necessitating many clinicians to affiliate themselves with hospitals instead of private practices, which decreases a limited practice autonomy already reduced by the dictates of what insurance is willing to cover), and long hours and you've kicked up the stress factor significantly, which is a huge psychological (exogenous) vector for depression.

    Prolonged stress produces chronic elevation of cortisol, which produces symptoms like sleep disturbances, appetite changes, anhedonia, disinterest in previously enjoyed activities, lowered sexual appetite, etc., etc., aka the bullet points of a major depressive disorder. So there is a strong endogenous vector for depression.

    Add to both of these social stigmas viewing depression as a character flaw and you create a self-reinforcing system of unchecked and untreated stressors, which increases the risk of self-injury.
     
  42. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow)
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    When did I say I consider food a commodity and not a need? I wholly approve of the French price fixing system on bread, cheese, and water so that even the poorest citizen can afford the day's food.
     
  43. dArroway

    dArroway Gettin' my hood on
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    LUL. That's is grrrrreat.
     
  44. nonesuchgirl

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    It makes me sad. I like popcorns.

    :(
     
  45. AlternateSome1

    AlternateSome1 Burnt Out
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    You listed oranges as one of your foils to health and life.
     
  46. pseudoknot

    Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I think this is both a falsely negative stereotype about psychiatry and a positive one about the other specialties. Most psychiatric illnesses do have effective treatments today, if not perfect ones. It is true that "cures" are rare in psychiatry but they are in most other fields as well, especially primary care and internal medicine. Most medical care is about management of chronic disease.

    I think you're conflating several different things here. Working at a hospital or not has nothing to do with whether or not you're in private practice. Most doctors who practice in hospital settings are in private practice and have privileges at the hospitals. Perhaps you're thinking of doctors who are actual hospital or HMO employees, but that's still rare in most specialties and is if anything probably a lower stress environment.

     
  47. nonesuchgirl

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    Suicide and self-injury have the same aim.
     
  48. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    I cut myself because it make me feel alive. If I commit suicide it's becuase I'm tired of feeling alive.
     
  49. nonesuchgirl

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    Wrong.
     
  50. EpiPEN

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    Wrong
     
  51. pseudoknot

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    No, really they don't. Most cutters I've talked to said they did it as a way of coping, to avoid suicide.
     

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