Why Your Doctor Thinks It’s Just Depression

Why Your Doctor Thinks It’s Just Depression December 15, 2022

From an article at Stat on physician burnout:

Physicians have among the highest rates of suicide of any profession, and almost half of them develop depression by the end of training. As physician and writer Elisabeth Poorman persuasively argues, depression and suicide are occupational hazards of practicing medicine.

Sometimes you go to the doctor with worrisome symptoms, and the doctor decides it’s just anxiety or depression. For example:

Why would a doctor do this to someone? Maybe it’s projectionMaybe it’s availability bias.

Statistically speaking, if you have to place a bet on who in the exam room struggles with depression, safer money is on the doctor than a randomly-chosen patient. That doctor is also more likely to be working all day long with depressed colleagues.

It creates an impression, in the doctor’s mind, that depression and anxiety are more common in real life than they actually are. Professional hazard.

Unfortunately, it’s a miscalculation that can kill you. Even if you know you have anxiety or depression, don’t assume your potentially-serious symptoms are only that. Comorbidity is a thing. You can be both depressed and sick with something else. Don’t ignore the something else.

If your doctor is unable to think clearly about this (perhaps he or she is depressed, and it is affecting his or her thinking), find a new doctor who can.

Low, rocky mountains surrounding a wide green valley.

Photo: Dépression de Lignin, Colmars, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France. Via Wikimedia, CC 4.0.

About Jennifer Fitz
Jen Fitz has a weird disease and limited amounts of patience. Home base is jenniferfitz.com, where you can find links to mostly-Jesus stuff. You can read more about the author here.

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