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I was having a discussion today with someone who does medical insurance and he told me that psychiatrists' family members (not siblings but wife/children) are more likely to have mental health issues than that of other physicians--based on the cases he had handled. Does this make sense to you? I would think just the opposite. Given mental health professionals' mastery of relaxation techniques and knowledge of human body, psychological and emotional needs and how to gratify them, and effective communication skills, they are less likely to ignore or mismanage psychological issues of family members. In fact, I would suggest that the rate would be even lower than that of the average family, that of a physician or not. Of course, it is a fact of life that physicians spend considerable amount of time at work and away from the family, but it is also true that they do not worry about finances as do the average family. In other words, there are both positives and negatives to it, but given their training I would expect better-than-average outcome.
 

HMSPSYCH

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I was having a discussion today with someone who does medical insurance and he told me that psychiatrists' family members (not siblings but wife/children) are more likely to have mental health issues than that of other physicians--based on the cases he had handled. Does this make sense to you? .
How scientific. Has he noticed the children and wives of oncologists have higher prevalence of oncology issues? Or that kids and wives of general surgeons receive more appendectomy? All sarcasms aside, this sounds like alot of bias. If you look long enough you'll find a problem type of deal.

I've treated lots of families of neurologists, surgeons, ortho, GI people and I can't make this same claim.
 

billypilgrim37

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My friend who matched into peds cardiology last year started his personal statement something like this:

"I did not have a brother or sister with a congenital heart defect. Or a cousin, a best friend, anybody. In fact, none of the adults in my family have heart disease either. I just think that cardiology is awesome."

The running joke, being, that the only reason anyone goes into pediatric cardiology is because a family member had bad plumbing or a hole in their pump somewhere, etc.

Having a family member with mental illness is a perfectly common reason for a thoughtful, strong-ego'd person to pursue psychiatry. A poll of providers of almost any medical subspecialty probably has an increased rate of a family history of some major disease that subspecialist treats. Given the provider is not hampered by a strong rescue fantasy, this is probably a good thing. Someone with a cousin with schizophrenia has a good chance of understanding something about living with that illness and its effect on the family system.
 

michaelrack

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. Given mental health professionals' mastery of relaxation techniques and knowledge of human body, psychological and emotional needs and how to gratify them, and effective communication skills, they are less likely to ignore or mismanage psychological issues of family members.
I wish this were true. My wife and I are both psychiatrists.:)
 
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OldPsychDoc

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KHE

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I was having a discussion today with someone who does medical insurance and he told me that psychiatrists' family members (not siblings but wife/children) are more likely to have mental health issues than that of other physicians--based on the cases he had handled. Does this make sense to you? I would think just the opposite. Given mental health professionals' mastery of relaxation techniques and knowledge of human body, psychological and emotional needs and how to gratify them, and effective communication skills, they are less likely to ignore or mismanage psychological issues of family members. In fact, I would suggest that the rate would be even lower than that of the average family, that of a physician or not. Of course, it is a fact of life that physicians spend considerable amount of time at work and away from the family, but it is also true that they do not worry about finances as do the average family. In other words, there are both positives and negatives to it, but given their training I would expect better-than-average outcome.
See, I would expect the opposite. Every child I know who's parents are a teacher, or a psychologist, or day care worker, or some sort of professional who works with children actually has the worst behaving children.

Every dentist I've ever seen has had horrible teeth.

It's like that old joke about the preacher's daughter being the loosest girl in town I guess.
 

Chimed

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See, I would expect the opposite. Every child I know who's parents are a teacher, or a psychologist, or day care worker, or some sort of professional who works with children actually has the worst behaving children.

Every dentist I've ever seen has had horrible teeth.

It's like that old joke about the preacher's daughter being the loosest girl in town I guess.
I think we tend to notice things that seem out of place, like a psychologist with a kid and bad behavior, and focus on those instances. Of course, you'll see that. But, IMO (as I have no data for this), it's a misnomer to think that just because someone works in the mental health field, that their kids should be perfect. I work with a lot of kids and I don't think there is any trend for kids with parents who work with children (i.e. teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists) to have worse kids. Sure, they can have their own issues like high level of stress for performance, etc. But the unfortunate truth remains that the worst kids typically come from poor social environments.
 
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peppy

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Correlation doesn't equal causation of course.
Could be that psychiatry families are more open and honest about mental illness (therefore more willing to seek help) because having a psychiatrist in the family lessens the stigma on it.
Could also be that psychiatrists are more understanding of mental illness and less likely to disown a mentally ill loved one than the average person.
 

whopper

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From personal experience I have never noticed psychiatrists somehow being more wise or balanced compared to anyone else of a similar economic or educational background. I've actually known some people I consider extremely immature and very unbalanced that are in the mental health field and even in higher positions and locations such as a program director or being in a name-brand institution.

I've seen people in the lower rungs (case managers and social workers) who knew more about clinical skills than a psychiatry professor.

If anything, the recent trend in the last few decades to focus more on psychopharmacology and less on psychotherapy has if anything created more psychiatrists who do not understand several aspects of the human psyche. They may know to give Haldol if a person starts screaming but they may not be concerned in understanding why the person is screaming and what they can do about it other than Haldol.

Do significant others and children have more psychological issues compared to other medical professionals? I don't know. I haven't seen any really hard data on this, and even if I did, I'd like to examine the data before I made any judgments. I would not be surprised if the data suggested that psychiatrists (in general) had some issues. We're only human beings.