“Have you ever been depressed as a physician?” I asked 220 doctors. Ninety percent stated yes. Yet few seek professional help. Here’s what depressed doctors do (when nobody’s looking). Some drink alcohol, exercise obsessively, even steal psychiatric meds. Still more shocking—I discovered that 75% of med students (and new doctors) are now on psychiatric medications.
“I was told by the psychologist at my med school’s campus assistance program, that 75% of the class of 175 people were on antidepressants,” shares psychiatrist Dr. Jaya V. Nair. “He wasn’t joking. How broken is the system, that doctors have to be pushed into illness in order to be trained to do their job?”
“During my internship, I found out that at least 75% of my fellow residents were on SSRIs or other antidepressants, just ‘to get through it’ because it was so horrible.” states Dr. Joel Cooper, “Depression, or a constantly depressed state, is more or less the norm in medical school and throughout one’s residency.”
“When I left my residency, I was alarmed to find out that about 75% of my fellow residents had started antidepressants since their intern year,” says Dr. Jill Fadal.
Seems the epidemic of depressed doctors begins in medical school. I wondered how best to verify this oft-repeated 75% statistic. Just then a student called to tell me what her professor said during orientation: “Look around the room. By the end of your first year, two-thirds of your class will be on antidepressants.”
I’m appalled. Yet she’s grateful. Why? Her school is so progressive. They normalize the need for antidepressants.
I must be out of touch. Do most med students require psych drugs for day-to-day survival? I turned my question over to Facebook: “75% of med students and residents are taking either stimulants or antidepressants or both. True or false?”…
“It’s absolutely, horrifyingly, true. It is a symptom of a great sickness in MedEd.”…
“I’ve been on an antidepressant since being premed—18 years now. Little did I know it would be impossible to wean myself off and that my entire class was using Adderall.”…
“Very true. From my practical point of view, I’d put medical students & residents at 100%.”