When every fourth doctor gets the blues

Washington D.C, Dec 10 : Blame the grueling years of training for a medical career as a new study has found that more than 25 percent of new doctors have signs of depression.

That’s bad news not just for the young doctors themselves, but also for the patients they care for now and in the future. Depressed doctors are known to be more likely to make mistakes or give worse care.

The startling findings come from a careful investigation of 50 years’ worth of studies that looked for depression symptoms in more than 17,500 medical residents.

The team led by a current resident at Harvard and a University of Michigan Medical School psychiatrist, who specializes in studying physician mental health, aimed to find definitive answers to questions that have been studied many times and in many ways: What percentage of new doctors might be depressed, and how much does that change over time?

By collecting and combining data from 54 studies done around the world, the researchers concluded that 28.8 percent of physicians-in-training have signs of depression.

There was a small but significant increase in the rate of depression over the five decades covered by the study.

“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 senior author Srijan Sen.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (ANI)