Peer-influenced content. Sources you trust. No registration required. This is HCN.

MDLinxPTSD Presents Differently in Docs, and Residents are Especially Vulnerable

PTSD in Physicians: Work-Related Trauma and the Vulnerability of Residents

The recent updates in DSM-5 to include work-related traumatic exposures highlight a growing recognition of PTSD among physicians, particularly those in residency. This development underscores the unique challenges faced by healthcare professionals exposed to high-stress environments and traumatic events in their line of work. The vulnerability of these individuals, coupled with the impacts of such stressors, necessitates a deeper understanding and robust support systems to mitigate the emotional and physical toll experienced by medical practitioners.

Key Points:

  • Physicians frequently encounter traumatic events at work, leading to symptoms of PTSD that range from fatigue and depression to tachycardia and flashbacks.
  • The risk of developing PTSD is particularly high during residency, due to less experience and higher exposure to traumatic situations.
  • Programs like the forYOU initiative offer tiered interventions, including peer support and professional counseling, to aid physicians as “second victims” of traumatic events.
  • Recent changes to the DSM-5 now recognize work-related traumatic exposures as potential causes for PTSD, highlighting secondary traumatic stress and compassionate fatigue.
  • A study in JAMA Network Open reports that more than half of surveyed interns experience work-related trauma, with nearly one-fifth developing PTSD symptoms by the end of their internship year.
  • Emergency physicians show a significant PTSD prevalence, with challenges such as frequent exposure to death, high patient acuity, and irregular working hours contributing to elevated stress levels.
  • Second-victim physicians often endure physical symptoms like sleep disturbances and psychological issues including depression and isolation.
  • The forYOU initiative outlines a recovery trajectory for second victims, which includes stages from chaos and accident response to obtaining emotional first aid and eventually moving on.

“Physicians have high rates of substance abuse and suicide, which may be mediated by underlying PTSD. [Emergency physicians] deal with multiple challenges such as the potential to witness death and trauma on a frequent basis, diagnostic uncertainty, high patient acuity, crowding, and circadian rhythm disruption that place them [at] elevated risk for occupational stress.”
– Study Authors

More on PTSD

The Healthcare Communications Network is owned and operated by IQVIA Inc.

Click below to leave this site and continue to IQVIA’s Privacy Choices form