According to a study conducted by the Indian Medical Association’s Goa unit, 42 percent of physicians in the state of Goa exhibit symptoms of burnout. The study highlights that depression and anxiety are common mental health struggles faced by doctors, and work-related stress, long working hours, constant on-call availability, administrative burdens, emotional burden from witnessing suffering and death, and limited control over complex systems such as insurance contribute to this situation .
The study also suggests that doctors are at a greater risk of dying by suicide compared to the general population. It further reveals that 12-15 percent of doctors engage in risky alcohol consumption, with 20% of them drinking to cope with stress.
The survey, titled “State Of Our Health: The Wellness of Doctors in Goa,” was conducted by the IMA state unit in collaboration with NGO Sangath, the Goa Institute of Management, and the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The study involved 315 doctors registered with the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Physician burnout is a significant concern globally. The demanding nature of the healthcare environment, including packed work days, time pressures, and emotional intensity, puts physicians at high risk for burnout. Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of personal accomplishment .
The rising prevalence of burnout among clinicians, with rates over 50% in some studies, has raised concerns about its impact on access to care, patient safety, and care quality. Burned-out doctors are more likely to leave practice, which reduces patients’ access to and continuity of care. Burnout can also affect patient safety and care quality when depersonalization leads to poor interactions with patients and when burned-out physicians experience impaired attention, memory, and executive function .
The study conducted in Goa highlights that depression and anxiety are common mental health struggles faced by doctors. These struggles can have a significant impact on the well-being and quality of life of physicians. It is important to address these issues and provide support to doctors to ensure their mental well-being.
In response to the study’s findings, the president of IMA Goa, Dr. Sandesh Chodankar, expressed a commitment to taking the responsibility towards their members seriously. He stated that he will work with other experts over the next 12 months to initiate activities aimed at supporting the well-being of doctors in Goa.
(With inputs from PTI)