Medscape, March 8, 2013 includes a provocative article called Physician Suicide by Louise B. Andrew, Md, JD, explaining all the reasons that doctors are killing themselves at a rate of 400 physicians each year (the equivalent of at least one entire medical school class). More horrific is that suicide is the most common cause of death in medical students. Depression occurs at least as often in medical professionals as the general population of about 12% of males and 18% of females. The most common means of suicide is lethal dosages of prescription medication or firearms.
I found it ironic though unfortunately totally believable that these medical professionals are the last to seek help for their own depressions. One has to ask how it is that one can feel fine prescribing all sorts of medicine and other sorts of treatments for we the mere mortals outside the medical community, yet they find it so disconcerting to ask for help for themselves. Further I find myself asking, that if they are unwilling to seek help for themselves for a deadly illness, why would I want to put myself under their care?
Doctors have a higher rate of suffering from mood disorders and substance abuse then the general public, most likely from both the pressures felt to be perfect and the pressure of being given a status higher than most with that medical degree of theirs. Of course being doctors, they have access to medications as well as the knowledge of how to best kill themselves.
Unfortunately doctors do not feel safe getting help for themselves with fear of losing their license to practice, loss of insurance and many not feeling comfortable going to colleagues with their problem.
Dr. Andrew states in the article that physicians are terrible at diagnosing depression in their own patients, so would be worse at doing so for themselves. Doctors feel that they need to act healthy and be invulnerable to be taken seriously as healers. The problem with this sort of thinking is that people who are depressed have a lack of clear thinking, a lack of energy and stuck in negative thoughts as they work to get through a day of 20 or more patients with various degrees of medical problems.
Ever since I was trained to be an Neuro-Linguistic practitioner, I knew that one had to always apply to the self before applying to others or the result the work would be variable. The reason for this is that when one is working in the unconscious mind, all sorts of cues come about for the client. If there is an incongruence in how the practitioner lives and what the practitioner is asking of the client, the practitioner has no basis to believe the client will follow the suggestions given.
I was with this in mind that I realized that I had little respect for many of the medical practitioners out there. For some reason they felt that we the patient should take them seriously when they were themselves over weight, angry or depressed or in some way less than a model of health and light.
I am grateful for learning about how the unconscious mind works and to avail myself of the divergence between what I am told to do and what the professionals themselves do as I see my dentist, who I love, drinking Diet Coke and eating chocolates during what would be his lunch break if he would took one. I notice that many of the nursing staff at hospitals and in doctors’ offices are overweight, many morbidly, while they stand outside smoking their cigarettes and eating donuts. Then we wonder why it is that Americans with all the medical technology they have access to are some of the unhealthiest people on the planet.
My advise to anyone who needs medical help is to make sure that you access it for only those things that truly merit it. I know from previous research that one in five medical professionals in the emergency room of any hospital is dependent on drugs or alcohol, used to combat the stress of their jobs. My own manner of using the medical professionals is to treat tumors, infections, broken bones and hormonal issues. Go to your pharmacist for that one – one who uses bio-identical hormones and is affiliated with an endocrinologist who will work with him. I learned this hard way.
Understand that I don’t blame the doctors for their plight. The system is set up for the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies to make all the money as the doctors are treated more like factory workers, unable to give the care that helped them to find their way, after going through 12 years or more of school to practice their art and science. For others it was more a matter of them following the expectations of their parents, who never should have taken that route given their lack of interest in the work. In any case, your health is in your own hands so take that responsibility seriously.
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