Burnout Happens to Medical Doctors: Learn the Risks and How to Offer Support 

Burnout Happens to Medical Doctors: Learn the Risks and How to Offer Support 

Medical students, residents, and physicians often struggle under the weight of expectations in their jobs. Their career is derived from passion to help others, although physicians are among one of the top professions to have a high rate of burnout, depressive symptoms, and susceptibility to suicide. Professional burnout occurs when individuals in the medical field cannot do their job because they are mentally and physically exhausted. It can lead to addiction and mental health issues, among other things. Learn more about the risks to themselves and others when this happens and how to support a loved one through this.

What is Professional Burnout?

Burnout is defined as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that is not managed well. There are three things that make up professional burnout:

  • The feeling of cynicism related to work or increased mental distance from it
  • Reduced efficiency or efficacy when treating the patient
  • Feelings of being exhausted or having energy depleted even at rest and not at work

Burnout is difficult because it looks different for different people. Most of all, it is a feeling of being deflated and not feeling like themselves. It means the person will feel exhausted at rest or play, or at work, and never quite feel like they are doing okay. 

Causes of Burnout

Professionals have issues with fatigue, but those in the medical field have factors that contribute to burnout. The long, intense hours of work often lead to sleep deprivation. This can cause changes in the way the brain thinks and works, along with stress on the physical body. Over time, this stress builds into fatigue issues and those in the medical field have contributing factors that lead to burnout. 

Impact of Burnout

While burnout has long-lasting effects, people can often struggle for quite some time with it until they finally seek help. Severe cases may lead to a person trying drugs or alcohol and putting themselves at risk, along with patients, as a means of coping with day-to-day life. It can have serious consequences for a person’s health and life, including their social and spiritual well-being. One of the greatest risks comes to their career as they risk losing their job or licenses to practice now or in the future as a result of burnout. 

The best way to find hope and healing from burnout is to ask for help from a qualified rehab facility. Medical professionals are less likely than the general population to seek mental health treatment. When physicians are asked why they did not seek help, nearly 50 percent said symptoms were not severe enough. Time and energy spent on rehab mean time away from their work. The key is to make sure they get enough help so they can return to their jobs or some type of employment after rehab. The consequences of not getting help are too great, including complete burnout where the person is not able to work or function at all without additional support. 

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We can help you navigate burnout and symptoms that come along with that. Our program provides a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.