Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Burnout and PTSD on the Rise Among Doctors During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr. Kenneth Hughes is no stranger to feelings of anxiety or burnout or PTSD, but doctors countrywide are suffering more and more. Doctors in addition to having the highest suicide rates among all professions by a factor of 4, continue to suffer the gauntlet of anxiety, panic attacks, burnout and PTSD amid the increased stress of the coronavirus pandemic.
Physicians have had greater and greater symptoms of anxiety, panic atttacks, burnout, and post-traumatic stress disorder over the past decade, and the severity of these issues have only escalated with time and with the greater and greater demands placed upon doctors. Now enter the coronavirus epidemic with its risks to life and limb and fear of lawsuits and exposure have only heightened the stress. Someone must help physicians as they are the ones helping everyone else.
Many hospitals and health care centers have invested in counselors, meditation, prayer services, and an array of mental health care activities for physicians have been sponsored. However, it is woefully inadequate to combat all of these obstacles that doctors confront on a consistent basis.
Signs of burnout, anxiety and frustration are widespread, especially as colleagues, friends and family members have gotten sick or died. That has provoked quiet despair in some medical workers and angry confrontations from others.
A study of doctors in China over the past few months found that 50% reported depression, 45% reported anxiety and 34% reported insomnia. A study of physicians from Italy showed 50% with PTSD, 25% with depression, and 20% with anxiety.
Dr. Hughes in Los Angeles has many doctor acquaintances and friends who struggle with many of these same issues on a daily basis, and the problem going forward is real and a true epidemic.