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Physicians not inclined to seek help for depression: study

Physicians not inclined to seek help for depression: study

While doctors usually urge people to quickly seek medical attention for depression, most of them did not follow their own advice, according to a study conducted by Tainan-based Chi Mei Hospital.

The study, conducted among 1,510 physicians who had healthcare between 2007-2011, was aimed at determining how many doctors seek medical treatment for insomnia, anxiety, and depression, compared with other people.

A research team led by Huang Lung-cheng, a doctor in the hospital's Department of Psychiatry, carried out the study based in part on data from the National Health Insurance Research Database.

The study found that about 10 percent of physicians seeking medical care suffer from insomnia, almost twice the rate among other people. Most of the doctors seeking treatment for insomnia are those specializing in emergency care, followed by orthopedic surgeons and psychiatrists, according to the study.

Meanwhile, 6.5 percent of doctors would seek medical treatment for anxiety, most of them psychiatrists, which is almost the same rate as among other people, the study indicated.

It found that obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons, who are viewed as working in high-stress fields, are less likely to suffer from anxiety than people outside the medical profession, while internal medicine doctors and specialist surgeons have a significantly lower risk of depression.

Among psychiatrists, however, the risk of depression is about 3.1 times higher than in the wider population, according to the study.

High occupational stress and burnout among physicians can put them at severe risk of insomnia, anxiety and depression, but the percentage of them seeking treatment for depression is relatively low, Huang said.

This is probably because physicians, deemed the cream of society, have high personal expectations and try to avoid the social stigma attached to mental illness, he said.

In fact, most of them are reluctant to even admit that they are suffering from depression, Huang said. (By Evelyn Kao)

Updated : 2021-09-22 01:20 GMT+08:00