Why Do Over 25% of New Doctors Become Depressed?
More than 25% of new doctors have signs of depression, according to a new study published in Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study analyzed data from 54 studies thatincluded 17,500 medical residents. The studies spanned 50 years and were collected from all around the world. From the data the research team aimed to determine the percentage of new doctors that might be depressed and how much that changed over time.
Researchers reported that 28.8% of physicians-in-training have signs of depression with any one study ranging from 20–43%. Over the 50 years covered in the study, the rate of depression increased in a small but significant manner. Part of the reason may be due to the intensive years of post-medical school training in internships and residencies. The study also found that doctors who are depressed are known to be more likely to make errors or provide worse patient care.
"The increase in depression is surprising and important, especially in light of reforms that have been implemented over the years with the intent of improving the mental health of residents and the health of patients,” says Srijan Sen, MD, PhD, senior author of the study.
Although many medical schools and teaching hospitals have started to address student and trainee mental health more completely, the authors added that more needs to be done. They hope that these findings will highlight the factors that may negatively impact the mental health of young doctors while helping find strategies to prevent and treat depression among medical trainees.
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