Doctor Feel-Bad: Why Are So Many Doctors Miserable?

Doctor Feel-Bad: Why Are So Many Doctors Miserable?

Doctoring is often a thankless profession and one that comes with huge levels of stress, especially for doctors who constantly deal with terminal illness and death. So it's little wonder so many doctors are depressed.

Doctor Boo-Hoo

Doctors are less than positive about their profession.

9 in 10

Physicians who wouldn't recommend young people go into medicine (1)


Doctors who are contemplating retirement within the next five years because of changes to the U.S. healthcare system (1)

1 in 2

Physicians who believe their relationships with patients will suffer due to pressures to increase patient volume (1)

Overall job satisfaction by specialty (2)

Dermatology: 80%

Radiology: 72%

Oncology: 70%

Gastroenterology: 69%

Ophthalmology: 67%

Infectious disease: 66%

Plastic surgery: 66%

Anesthesiology: 65%

Orthopedic surgery: 65%

Psychiatry: 65%

Rheumatology: 65%

Emergency medicine: 63%

Urology: 63%

Cardiology: 62%

Pediatrics: 62%

Diabetes/endocrinology: 61%

Neurology: 60%

General surgery: 58%

Nephrology: 57%

Obstetrics/gynecology: 57%

Pulmonology: 57%

Primary care: 54%

Suicide & Depression

Doctors have higher rates of suicide and depression than the general population.

About 1 per day

Doctors who commit suicide (3)

Suicides per 10,000 people (4)

General population: 12.3

Doctors: 40

Female doctors have more than double the rate of depression of all women. (3)

Likelihood of suicide by profession relative to general population (5)

Doctors: 1.87

Dentists: 1.67

Finance: 1.51

Realtors: 1.38

Electricians: 1.36

Police: 1.35

Lawyers: 1.33

Farm workers: 1.32

Pharmacists: 1.29

Scientists: 1.28

What Ails Them

The medical profession has unique challenges not found in other occupations. (6, 7)

Complex payment and insurance rules and regulations.

Public perception of unfairly high salaries.

Common belief that medical profession wants people to be sick.

Public blame of doctors for issues outside their control, like lab fees and other costs.

Lack of time to spend with patients.

Burnout and exhaustion.

Lack of family time.

Fear of patient death.

Dealing with extremes of human emotion.

Access to drugs and intimate knowledge of lethality.

Extremely high levels of educational debt.

Doctor Depression









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