Doctors at higher risk of depression, study reveals

A study has revealed that female doctors are more depressed than men. FILE PHOTO

What you need to know:

  • The study reveals that in as much as the doctors are more depressed, very few studies have been carried out in developing countries on this phenomenon.

Doctors are at a higher risk of suffering from depression compared to professionals in other fields, a study has shown.

According to the study by the Kenya Medical Association, the depression is as a result of study and burnout which has been associated with most doctors.

Ms Irene Chesire, a medic and author of the study titled Prevalence of Depression among Doctors in Kenya, said the most affected are female doctors whose rate stands at 19 per cent compared to 12 per cent for men.

She said the depression begins in colleges where medical students spend most of their time on books before transitioning to the work place.

“The students are also reported to experience burnout and illnesses at a higher rate. The doctors, once realizing they are depressed, resort to excessive drinking and smoking,” said Dr Chesire in the December 2015 study.

“At the time that they are depressed, they are less likely to receive right health care hence getting more depressed and committing suicide,” she said.

The study reveals that in as much as the doctors are more depressed, very few studies have been carried out in developing countries on this phenomenon.

“Most studies in Kenya have focused on depression in clinical settings,” she said.

The study with the objective of establishing prevalence of depression in doctors in Kenya, involved 312 medical students from two public universities.

The students were in their final year of medical school.

Dr Chesire said the findings provide useful information for medical education and counselling to reduce depression among doctors.

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