As more and more physicians and medical professionals enter the workforce, burnout psychology is more important than ever. Many young physicians and medical professionals have a poor work-life balance and the stressful and often emotionally fraught nature of the job mean that workplace anger as well as workplace stress and other symptoms are more prevalent than ever. Burnout psychology can help to diagnose and treat symptoms of burnout as well as prevent it in the future.
Burnout does not just affect physicians (as two thirds of all working people in the United States have reported negative impacts on their mental health due to burnout and stress, often culminating in too many sick days used), but physicians are affected disproportionately. In fact, doctors and other medical professionals have been found to be twice as likely to be unhappy with their work life balance and more in need of burnout psychology. This high level of stress and job burnout has unfortunate affects in the outside lives of medical professionals and medical students, as well. Any given medical student is up to 30% more likely to develop chronic depression or to have a depressive episode than a person not employed in the medical field. Doctors and other medical professionals are also up to 20% more likely to file for divorce from their respective partners than those in other fields of work (the general population).
Because of these risk factors, it’s important for doctors and medical professionals (particularly young women, who experience 10% more burnout than men who are also medical professionals) to be on the lookout for signs of job burnout. Workplace anger can be a key sign, as well as anger that extends outside of the workplace. Feelings of overwhelming sadness and a lack of motivation to go to work or even get out of bed can indicate a depression caused by a job burnout. Not getting enough sleep and becoming deeply emotionally invested in patients’ cases and lives can be another risk factor for developing burnout, though there are many reasons that burnout can happen.
If burnout does happen to you or a medical professional close to you in your life, it’s important to treat it promptly. Seeing a psychologist who specializes in burnout psychology can help to get you back on the right path. Most important, however, is to take care of your self and practice self care whenever possible.