Posted in Health, news, suicide

1 in 7 Doctors Consider Suicide

An alarming report published in Medscape’s National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report 2019, cite burnout to be a common issue in many physicians.

15,000 physicians across 29 specialties were interviewed.  While 44% cite burnout, 15% cite depression.

But most striking is 14% of physicians contemplated suicide.

The most common specialties feeling burned out include:

  • Urology 54%
  • Neurology 53%
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 52%
  • Internal Medicine 49%
  • Emergency Medicine 48%

…with the least burnout seen in Pathology (33%), Nephrology (32%) and Public Health & Preventative Medicine (28%).  Still alarming numbers…..

Female physician burnout rose to 50%, outpacing males, 39%.

Factors leading to burnout were reported to be paperwork and charting, long hours, and increasing computerization of practice (Electronic Health Records).

57% of physicians working over 71 hours a week reported burnout.

Additionally, a study last year from the American Medical Association (AMA), the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University finds 1 in 5 physicians plan to cut back their hours next year and 1 in 50 will leave the profession completely within the next 2 years.

Burnout is cited to be the main cause and is one of the biggest threats to healthcare today.

How Doctors Can Prevent Burnout

 

According to AMA President Dr. David Barbe, “An energized, engaged, and resilient  workforce is essential to achieving national health goals.”

And burnout affects all fields of medicine, surpassing 50%, in those including primary care and specialties such as gynecology, neurology, urology, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, cardiology and critical care to name a few.

Patients are at risk because if doctors aren’t at the top of their game, things get missed.  Moreover the keen instinct of a clinician is imperative to diagnosing correctly, and this gets blunted when one is emotionally fatigued, or burned out.

Why are Doctors Burning Out?

A variety of factors can lead to physician burnout but the following appear to be the most cited:

  1. Electronic medical records – these are time-consuming to learn and implement, take time away from patients and may be financially burdensome due to their cost and lack of revenue for those who struggle to type and work with computers.
  2. High patient insurance deductibles – with insurance companies not paying until patients reach their deductible, it forces doctor’s offices to work harder to collect the income needed to run a practice.  Physicians do not want to get into the financial aspect of patient collections and it adds undue stress on an already stressful field.
  3. Red tape – ICD 10 code changes, insurance authorizations, referral forms turn the average day of a physician to less patient care and more bureaucracy.
  4. Less respect – in the old days, doctors were considered heroes and revered greatly.  Today they are frequently blamed for issues such as rising healthcare costs and the opioid epidemic.
  5. Malpractice suit fears – doctors are human and can only combat nature so much.  When one is diagnosed with cancer a physician has to fear that one will accuse him of not diagnosing it “quickly enough”.  When a lab gets ordered, the clinician has to hope that his staff is ensuring that every lab value comes across his desk.  When a prescription gets written, he has to hope that the correct medicine gets dispensed, works effectively and does not cause an adverse reaction.  And when a referral is made to a specialist, he has to hope all the above issues go well with the second physician or he can be sued for the referral.  And since a doctor sees thousands of patients a year, the odds that he will be sued for something is higher than any other profession.  Moreover, one lawsuit is a enough to bankrupt him.  Pretty darn stressful.

 

What are the signs of burnout?

In any profession, the following may be signs of burnout:

  • Apathy
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor sleep
  • Negative attitude at work
  • Absence from work
  • Being irritated
  • Feeling empty
  • Dreading going to work
  • Feeling underappreciated
  • Feeling you don’t matter
  • Blame others for mistakes
  • Low energy
  • Thinking about quitting

 

burnout

 

 

How to prevent burnout?

  1. Find the humor – As Milton Berle once said, “Laughter is an instant vacation”.  Watching a comedy or taking a 10 minute break to watch some funny You Tube clips offers immediate relief and energizes you.  A day without laughter is a day wastedCharlie Chaplin
  2. Take care of yourself – how can one heal others when he himself needs healing?  So what can you do?  Try Massage, Meditation, Yoga, Exercise, Stress diary, Sleep, Mini vacations, Staycations but most of all…..Take breaks!!
  3. Learn to say “No” – It’s OK to take a day off. Why not take off early on Friday’s?  Or better yet, work a half day on Wednesday to break up the week?  Learn the 4 D’s…..Deflect, Defer, Deter, Delegate…..
  4. Make small goals – too many times we burnout because we failed to meet a goal that was unattainable in the first place.  So we toil for years to become “promoted”, or “wealthy”, or “slim”, or “married”, or “see the world”.  Instead, make smaller attainable goals (find a partner, open auxiliary office, lose 10 lbs, take a trip).
  5.  Quit comparing yourself to others – we watch Shark Tank and then wonder what we are doing wrong, not being millionaires.  It’s unrealistic to think you should be “rich by now”.  We will always be inferior to someone else.  So get over it and love who you are and what you’ve accomplished.
  6. Have fun at work – contests, pot luck lunches, lunch room decorating, accent days, dress up days, and end of the week happy hour can spice things up at work.  Plus it increases morale among coworkers and staff.
  7. Be charitable – Doing community service is so rewarding and energizing that having a pet project helping out a local charity may be just what this doctor orders.  You can choose a cause, fundraise, attend charity events or walks, or even create a campaign.
  8. Get a hobby – tap into your artistic side by writing a book, song, article; paint; cook; build; teach; sing; dance; or even ride.
  9. Work on your bucket list – whether its going to a foreign country, learning to speak a new language, buying a vacation property, or even starting a second business, don’t let job burnout deter you.  This may give you the energy and perspective you need.

Finally, be around others and have a Bitch and Moan session – it feels so good to complain and gripe. Find others in similar situations as you and you’ll realize that you may have it better than you think.

Remember you have to come first and doing so will make you more of a help to others.  Feel great and you’ll make others feel great!

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

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Posted in drugs, Education, Health, news, opioids, sex, suicide

Is Your Teen in Trouble? Your Guide to Their Code Words

This generation of teens communicates differently from any others as smartphone technology has outpaced the normal evolution of day-and-age vernacular. As a result, adolescents use abbreviations and emojis to convey their thoughts while parents and society scramble to catch up.

What Are They Saying? Your Guide to Teen Slang

However, within these bite-size “codes” could be volumes of meaning, some delineating at risk behavior, some foreboding suicide.  These codes many times come from the letters that correspond to the key pad on a phone.  So here’s a guide to some of the unfamiliar terminology the young ‘uns are using:

 

Sex/Love

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  • NIFOC – nude in front of computer
  • CU46 – see you for sex
  • 8 – “ate” used in discussions on oral sex
  • 831 – I love you – “eight letters, three words, one you/meaning”
  • 143 – I love you (denotes letters on keypads, or #’s of letters in each word (love has 4 letters)
  • 2N8, 2NTE – tonight
  • 4AO – four adults only
  • 2B@ – to be at
  • 4EAE – for ever and ever
  • 53X – sex
  • 775 – kiss me
  • ?^ – hook up?
  • BAE – before anyone else
  • IWSN – I want sex now
  • ITX – intense text sex
  • NP4NP – naked pic for naked pic
  • 1174 – strip club

 

Unhappy/Angry

 

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  • < 3 – broken heart or heart
  • 182 – I hate you (1 stands for “I”, 8 stands for “hate”, 2 stands for “you”)
  • 2G2BT – Too good to be true
  • 2M2H – Too much to handle
  • Blarg, Blargh – similar to “darn” but deeper
  • Butthurt – receiving a personal insult
  • Salty – being bitter about something or someone
  • Watered – feeling sad, hurt
  • Wrecked – messed up
  • 4FS – For F***’s Sake
  • Poof – disappearing
  • ::poof:: – I’m gone
  • Ghost – disappear
  • 555555 – sobbing, crying one’s eyes out
  • ADIH – another day in Hell
  • KMN – kill me now
  • VSF – very sad face
  • KMS – kill myself
  • KYS – kill yourself
  • 187 – homicide

 

Drugs/Risky Behavior (to be revisited more in depth)

drugs.jpg

  • 420 – marijuana
  • 420 – let’s get high
  • A/S/L/P – age/sex/location/picture
  • A3 – anytime, anyplace, anywhere
  • LMIRL – lets meet in real life
  • WYRN – what is your real name?
  • Chrismas tree – marijuana
  • Catnip – marijuana
  • Gold – drugs
  • Gummy Bears – drugs
  • Blues/Bananas – narcotics
  • Bars – benzodiazepines
  • Smarties/Skittles – Adderall/Ritalin
  • Ski Equipment/Yayo– cocaine
  • Cola – cocaine
  • Candy/Chocolate Chips/Sweets/Smarties/E – ecstasy
  • Crystal Skull/Wizard – synthetic marijuana
  • Hazel – heroin
  • Gat – gun/firearm
  • Lit – getting high/drunk
  • Smash(ed) – getting drunk, stoned, or having sex

 

Parents nearby

parents.jpg

  • 9 – parent is watching
  • 99 – parent is not watching anymore
  • P911 – parent alert (parent 911)
  • PAL – parents are listening
  • PAW – parents are watching
  • POS – parents over shoulder
  • AITR – adult in the room
  • CD9 – code 9 – parents in the room
  • KPC – keep parents clueless
  • RU/18 – are you over 18

 

And the above is just a small sample of some of the terms used these days.  This list continues to grow by the day so parents need to always be aware.  Kids want to KPC and avoid POS so be ready for the next group of codes being created as we speak……

 

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in Health, news, suicide

6 Reasons People Consider or Commit Suicide

Each year 47,000 Americans take their lives. That averages to 123 people a day.  And each suicide affects everyone with whom the  person has regular encounters. So why is it so common?  Here are six reasons people choose to end their life.

They’re Impulsive

Many of us have been trained to act on a whim. We quickly reply to a text, pop some food in the microwave, flick the controller while playing a video game…and these quick, instinctive acts are becoming apart of our daily behavior.  So when one has a fleeting thought of suicide, they may be less likely to slow down and think it through.

They Can’t See Around the Problem

When tragedy strikes, whether it be an accident, break up, job loss, missed opportunity, some can’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel.”  Many think and navigate through life one step at a time, which may be productive when it comes to tackling tasks, but if they feel the obstacle in front of them is insurmountable they may believe their options are far and few between, with death being the only out.

They Fear Death

This is one of the least discussed reasons people commit suicide, but unfortunately more common than we think.  Although most of us fear death and dying, some pathologically can’t handle the thought of it happening out of the blue.  Those who need control and need to plan ahead, may find solace in the fact that they are planning their own death.   They can’t control their birth but they can control their death, they believe, and for those who feel they have lost control of their life may find this tragic option welcoming.

They’re Depressed, Really Depressed

Hollywood stereotypes depression as a woman sitting on a couch eating ice cream to combat the tears and loneliness of a breakup.  But many have symptoms of severe depression and don’t know it.

  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • wanting to avoid others
  • poor appetite
  • lack of sex drive
  • apathy
  • anxiety
  • sadness
  • tearful
  • mood swings
  • poor memory
  • poor concentration
  • overeating

So many self medicate either by over-eating, drinking alcohol, smoking weed, or taking pills, which when wears off, can sink one into a lower funk. Without psychological or medical intervention, one struggles to recover.

 

They Feel No One Cares About Them

Since so many people are undiagnosed when it comes to depression, family members and friends are unaware their loved one is struggling.  Going about one’s business may be inferred as indifference by someone suffering from a mood disorder.  “They won’t even notice I’m gone,” pervades their thoughts and worsens their loneliness.

 

They’re Angry

If one feels they’ve been ignored, unheard or wronged, this could incite an “I’ll show ’em” attitude in which their suicide is plotted to be a form of psychological revenge.

 

Sadly many out there secretly hope they get help but don’t know how to ask for it. It’s up to us to seek them out and guide them to a medical professional who can listen, understand, and work with them.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio, KDWN and Board Certified Family Physician