The process of becoming a doctor is long and difficult, so a study found that 1 in 4 medical residents is depressed. The tough hours and incredibly taxing work takes a toll, especially on physicians in-training where depression is concerned. There is mostly time for little else, which affects every other aspect of their lives.
Researchers reviewed 54 different studies that saw to 17,500 medical residents over the course of 50 years. They observed that the rates of depression symptoms was “extraordinarily high” among young residents. For the most part, this has been attributed to the grueling tasks placed upon their shoulders, starting from college to medical residency.
Between 11-16 years of training
In the United States, future doctors place in 4 years for a degree, 4 years at medical school, and then between 3 to 8 years of medical residency at either a hospital or outpatients clinic. And that’s mainly the basic requirement, considering some even opt for additional specialized training between 1 to 3 years on a fellowship program. That means between 11 to 16 years worth of learning from college to medical resident.
1 in 4, or 28.8% show symptoms of depression
And, according to the study, around 28.8% of them show signs of depression in the early stages of residency. It presents at a peril for both themselves and their patients. Doctors distracted may see to an unfortunate decline in the quality of medical care. There is also a slight increase in depression rates over the years, in spite of numerous programs set for the purpose of offering them aid.
The years of residency are when the pressure builds up likely the most. They have to face long hours during which they have endless things to learn on the job. The books are set aside for once, and it becomes time to learn practice. When it’s a matter of people’s health or lives, the added pressure would perhaps make it a little harder. They also have a “minute-to-minute” responsibility toward a patient, in spite of being a low rank in the medical team.
Essentially, that means that their attention is focused on patient care 24/7 while they have little to say on it, and are required to do everything that is asked of them. Due to the grueling work, a quarter of them show definite signs of depression. Future prospects of their chosen career do not face better odds either.
According to previous studies, doctors are at risk for depression just as much as the normal population, but they have a higher risk of suicide. Lead author of the study, Douglas Mata, from Harvard University, remarked that it’s in their hopes that programs will focus better on factors that impact the mental health of in-training doctors. Both their well being and of their patients is at stake.
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