You knew when you signed up for the job that being a doctor would be stressful. What you didn’t know was just how stressful it would be. Just a few years into your career, you’ve found yourself feeling fatigued, detached, and even depressed. Though normal on some level, given your profession, these symptoms are all red flags that you’re mentally and physically drained. Doctor burnout has become a trending topic lately, and with good reason. There has been an alarming increase in physicians speaking out about their issues with mental health.

If you’ve experienced periods of depression, exhaustion, or anxiety, you too could be suffering emotionally. The best way to combat doctor burnout is to pay attention to the red flags and act accordingly.

Common Causes of Doctor Burnout

What causes a doctor to go from simply being stressed because of the demands of the job to being emotionally drained? Some of the most common causes of physician burnout include:

  • Practicing Medicine – working in medicine will wear on anyone emotionally. You’re treating people who are sick, dying, anxious, and everything in between.

  • Office Management – being a doctor goes well beyond treating patients. There is also a lot going on behind the scenes. You must also manage staff, deal with healthcare politics, manage insurance and billing, and more.

  • Work/Life Balance – the demanding role of a doctor often prevents them from having much of a personal life. Professions in the medical industry take physicians away from their families. This, in turn, creates chaos in the house. Missed events, damaged relationships, and the lack of a social life can all begin to weigh on you.

Signs You’re on the Brink of a Burnout

How do you know if you need to take some time off and care for yourself? Here is a look at some signs that you’re beyond having a bad week and need to look into solutions like mental health and depression treatment.

  • Exhaustion – Sleep deprivation comes with the job description as a medical professional and should not be confused with exhaustion. If you feel emotionally drained all the time this could be a sign of burnout.

  • Frequent Conflict – Getting into arguments, feeling short on patience, or simply just being in a bad mood more often are all things you should take notice of. If there are more arguments at home and in the office, the problem could very well be your emotional health.

  • Unmotivated – Has your job become so stressful that you’re no longer inspired to do your best? When it reaches a point that you feel stuck, you’re not motivated to reach higher levels of success or to improve your current practice you are on the brink of burning out. In extreme cases, doctors may feel uninspired because they feel worthless, unvalued, and/or guilty which are key signs of depression.

  • Your Performance is Suffering – Are you making a bunch of mistakes? Not providing the best quality of care to your patients? Falling behind on office tasks? Lack of concentration and focus are common when suffering from a mental illness and could be the cause of your performance going down the drain.

  • You Can’t Get Work Off Your Mind – Everyone takes a little bit of work home with them, whether it’s physical files they need to review or conversations about patients and workplace chaos. The problem comes when you’re unable to get work off your mind. If your job keeps you up at night, causes you to detach from personal relationships, or prevents you from enjoying time off, you have a serious problem.

Signs of workplace burnout and depression can manifest differently in women and men, and these are just a few of the red flags you may experience. If you’ve gotten to the point that your job is emotionally draining, no matter how just your cause is for working in the profession it is imperative that you act. The sooner you get help treating your mental health problems the better you can be for yourself, your family, your patients, and your staff.

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