Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why Doctors Are More At Risk For Depression

If you are a doctor you are at risk of developing depression. This is because the practicing of medicine is very stressful.  Reacting constantly to stress is wearing on the human psyche and personality, even if it is what is called “happy stress.” 

Happy stress is often experienced by what is called Type A Personalities.  These personalities use stress like a form of rocket fuel that helps them shoot to the top of the profession. They also thrive on being the center of attention.

Most doctors are Type A Personalities. They are proactive, talkative and good multi-taskers.  They are also over-achievers that schedule very little time to take care of their health or personal needs. They can also be talkative, demanding, impulsive and easily distracted.

Doctors are also trained to put others first. Everyone else’s needs are the priority as they check off everything on their To Do List.  Invariably their own needs are at the very bottom of the list and carried over as an undone chore from day to day, week to week and month to month.

If there is an award to win or an underdog to fight for this type of personality will go for it.  They work hard, they play hard and unfortunately they also fall hard when their bodies and brains can’t keep up with their indomitable will and high spirits. The result is often a crash that results in fatigue, burnout or depression.

Then there is the stress caused by the constant self-promotion of the self as an honest or legitimate professional. If you are a doctor, stress is quite simply the nature of the beast.  This is because most people associate doctors with “trouble.”  It is a wonder that more doctors don’t suffer from low self-esteem considering the negative image of them that is perpetrated as a symbol of trouble.

Meeting High Expectations

It also does not help that the public as very high expectations of a doctor in terms of expectations and performance. Feelings of loneliness and being constantly misunderstood are common in their profession.

The clients that they deal with cause the third type of stress that doctors suffer from.  Very few happy individuals schedule an appointment to see a doctor. On a doctor cannot guarantee a good prognosis after a case is stated. All that a good doctor can really do is manage the crisis as well as any emotional reactions or behavioral problems that clients might be displaying.

Yet another source of stress is the highly competitive nature of the business. Being a doctor means being combative, competitive, aggressive and adversarial. Being ruthless full time leads to feelings of shame and low self-esteem in some doctors as the negative actions, words and thoughts accumulate in the psyche. Eventually all of the genuine grief we feel as human beings at the persistence of unfairness and cruelty in the world catches up with us and overwhelms us with depression.

The Mask of Indifference

Yet another strain is the mask of the professional that must be worn by doctors.  It is not easy to consistently exhibit a calm and confident exterior while inside we are feeling fear, disgust, and even shock about what is happening in court and in our patient's lives.  Doctors are trained to e impervious and objective. This can cause a person to become neurotic and depressed as feelings are repressed.

Doctors are famous for working long hours. Early on in their careers doctors who want to make it often work at least sixty hours a week and as one hundred hours. Leading this type of exhausting schedule can also lead to depression.

It is also common for medical professionals to watch their social and family lives degrade simply because their demanding schedules take precedence.  This can lead to feelings of alienation and not feeling supported by relatives.

There is a good metaphor to describe how stress causes depression. You need to think of your body as a car and stress as something that causes the air to leak out of your tires. When you are not under stress, your fat pumped up tires glide evenly over every little bump in the road. However the flatter your tires are, thanks to the deflation of stress factors, the more you will feel every little miserable pebble, bump and pit in the road. The result is a more irritable individual who is prone to depression and burn out.

For more information about The Pinewood Institute for the Advancement of Natural Medicine courses including course outlines, detailed descriptions of courses and information about upcoming training sessions, please go www.pinewoodinstitute.com.  You can also send us an email using our email form at http://pinewoodinstitute.com/contact.aspx or call us at 416-656-8100. If you prefer to fax the number is 416-656-8107.

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