“ The Indian Journal of Psychiatry states that 30% of Doctors suffer from depression at some point in their lives “

Yes, the very doctors we seek to cure our physical and mental problems are the ones that are at risk of Depression.

If you find this fact staggering, you should take a look at the fact below.

The Same Indian Journal of Psychiatry also states that 17% of Doctors and Medical Professionals have thought about ending their lives at some point in time.

It may sound shocking, but it is true. This is caused by the immense stress these medical professionals go through every single day. The High Doctor: Patient ratios in India, paves the way for a highly stressful work environment for medical professionals in our country.
Why will India need more doctors in the future?

While the current number of doctors is too low to look after patients, a lot of us have thought that the coming years will be great for the medical community. But tragically, the future does not look good either. The World Health Organization ( WHO ) states that India has 7 doctors for 10,000 people.

Do the math right and you will find that there isn’t even a single doctor for a 1000 people in the country. The Average count of doctor: people ratio is a shocking 1: 1428.

The research also states another interesting yet disturbing fact. Even with the good number of medical colleges and students opting to become medical professionals, India will take a lot more years to achieve the 1: 1000 of Doctor: Patient ratio.

The calculated facts state that India needs at least until 2030 to achieve this ratio. But by then the estimated level of the Indian population would rise from 1.239 billion to 1.476 billion. The simple solution is that we need more doctors and better resources we need to give them improved working conditions.

Why are Doctors at Risk of Depression?

Depression is a mental condition that negatively alters the way of life, causing a feeling of sadness. It can spring up due to a number of reasons, but a highly stressful life is one of the major reasons people fall into depression.

Doctors lead a stressful life and when they fail to implement proper stress management techniques, they sometimes end up finding depression at their doorsteps.

Reason for doctor falling into depression

Untimely work shifts
Irregular sleep patterns
Lack of support and empathy from superiors
Loneliness in the workplace
Failing to strike a balance between personal and professional life
The sudden death of a patient

And a number of other small reasons that add up over time.

Why do Doctors refrain from sharing their problems with the Community?

Doctors are health advocates and when they claim that they are affected, they simply lose their credibility. Even worse is that Depression can put doctors at risk of losing their rights to professional practice.

Yes, doctors defer from telling their peers and colleagues that they suffer from depression. This is because of licensing boards that prevent depressed and mentally unstable doctors from carrying on with their practice.

The Medical Boards in India always make sure that the patients are safe in the hands of their doctors. Suffering from a mental illness or depression makes a doctor unfit for medical practice.

The type of doctors that are at risk of getting depressed

trauma surgeons
Emergency care doctors
vascular surgeons
general surgeons
The specializations of a medical professional put them in a state where they have no people to relate to. There is also a pressure to make Life-Saving decisions in their practice adding to the stressors of life. When these professionals fail to allocate their time to take care of their mental health, falling into a cycle of depression seems inevitable.
Are Junior Doctors safe from these pitfalls?

If you consider junior doctors and early medical professionals to be safe from depression, you need to think again. Junior Doctors are at more risk of suffering from depression due to another set of reasons.

Errors with prescription
Humane Errors while taking care of patients
Losing patience with patients/caregivers
Inability to communicate with patients.
Lack of empathy and understanding from seniors.
Let’s Take a Look at the case study from a Tertiary care Hospital in North India

This Live study was implemented to serve as proof for the claims of increasing psychological disorders and burnout among medical professionals.

An online survey was forwarded to the 1721 doctors and hospital staff. A total of 445 professionals responded to the online survey and the results were quite shocking

Here are the test results of this online survey.

30.1% of Professionals were reported to have depression or experienced it in the past
16.7% of professionals had suicidal thoughts in the past
And a whopping 90% of them were evidently burnout

This proves that Doctors are going through extreme sets of depression and other mental health problems. We need to act quickly and fiercely to put in measures that will save the people who save us.

Jai Hind

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We all commonly perceive health as just a lack of illness. It has a much broader definition, which has changed manifolds over the course of history.
The World Health Organization states that  “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Human Health is distinguished into 5 different aspects.

5 aspects of Human health

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual

Even though they seem independent, all aspects of human health are interlinked and a slight change in their normalcy affects each other.
We’ll just cover the important aspects of Physical, Mental, and Social health in a short description below.

Physical health:

Physical health is considered to be the most crucial one out of all aspects of health. If your body functions are at peak performance with no signs of illness, then you are considered to be physically healthy.

Mental Health:

However, we forget to take the super important mental health into account. You are considered to be mentally healthy if you can experience all the basic human emotions like happiness, Sadness, Anger, despair, etc
If you are able to regain your natural rhythm after experiencing these emotions, you are considered to be mentally healthy.
For example, a person with depression is considered to be mentally unhealthy because he loses his ability to experience other forms of emotional happiness for a long time.

Social Health :

Human beings are socially wired and require frequent interaction with their species to be healthy and sane. We have the urge to feel connected with our fellow human beings at every moment of our lives. A study conducted by Harvard revealed that having a good set of relationships leads to inner happiness and a fulfilled life.

Why should we take care of our mental health?

Mental health is closely connected with all other aspects of human health. Failing to take care of it disturbs your physical, social and spiritual wellbeing. Not taking the time to acknowledge your mental health has a major impact on the way you think and behave.

The quality of your relationship and overall productivity can take a hit if you do not focus on your mental health.

Research has found that mental disorders can produce chronic physical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, mental illness is declared as the “10th leading cause of death”. This states the importance of the fact that mental health needs to be given equal or maybe more importance over physical health.

If you have some concern related to relationship, work from home stress, depression, study, concentration, or anything that needs attention, you can listen to my podcasts on God Is Not Fair? podcast channel available on all the leading podcast platforms.

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Health Risk of Evening Stress

Over the last two decades of research on stress and it’s co-relation to health effects, a lot of revelations have come.

Stress can contribute to a range of heart problems, which over a period of time can contribute to the fatal heart attacks. Chronic stress, one which is present in someone for years, can affect the body’s immune and endocrine systems as well as metabolic processes. These can in turn induce diabetes, bowel disease and sometimes even cancer.

As the research becomes more targeted, researchers are now studying the cortisol and hormonal changes that happen in the body when it is undergoing stress. Cortisol is now identified as the “stress hormone”, after researchers successfully established the connection when a controlled group of patients were put under stress.

Our bodies have evolved over millions of years of evolution, and make no mistake hormones like Cortisol are extremely important in its function. Cortisol arms the body and prepares it to face a potential threat, it also plays a very important role in reducing body inflammation. One of cortisol’s another important function is to activate certain immune cells that will help prevent any inflammation in the body to go out of control.

Our bodies are perfectly crafted machines, but what happens when the 21st century factors like chronic stress kicks in?

If someone goes through chronic stress, their cortisol levels are chronically elevated, the immune systems supposed to take care of the inflammations is suddenly glitching.

But preventing inflammation isn’t the only function of cortisol. If you are analysing a healthy person, cortisol tends to rise and fall throughout the day in a very predictable manner. Usually cortisol levels are at its highest almost 30 minutes after we wake up. After this morning peak, the levels usually decline throughout the day and bottoms out before a person falls asleep. It is this rise and fall of cortisol that maintains Circadian Rhythms. For the uninitiated, it is the rhythm of life that governs everything from our sleep to cellular repair to maintenance to even appetite.

Now let’s talk about what happens when chronic stress kicks in, specifically, when chronic stress kicks late evening. We are talking about late evening because it is the most common thing, taken any population across the world.

Evening stress can cause numbing or spiking of the cortisol levels and both of these amount to health risks. If our body’s cortisol levels are dulled in the evening, we are exposing ourselves to a nervous system collapse. This can in turn bring in obesity, diabetes and blood pressure.

Now if the cortisol levels are high in the evening, it can significantly disrupt the sleep cycles. The long term effects?

Flattening” of the body’s normal cortisol slope ie you see that morning cortisol levels are not as elevated, and evening levels aren’t as low,” she says. This sort of shift could throw off the body’s circadian rhythms in ways that contribute to a range of health issues. The worst part of this? It happens over a period of years, and we will not even be knowing about it. We can indeed know about it if we are consciously thinking of our body’s and mind’s states.

The one thing which can help you with this is meditation. You can download from a host of apps like Headspace, Calm etc. Meditation will put you at ease, help you fall asleep and even add a lot of clarity to your mind through to the next day.

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