Awareness of Physician Burnout Helps Physicians Find Support for Mental Health Conditions

It has long been acknowledged that medical professionals are under an immense amount of pressure and experience high levels of stress in their careers. A career in medicine takes not only an incredible toll on the physical health of physicians but on their mental health as well. Dealing with patients’ health and life-and-death situations truly puts cognitive and emotional strain on physicians and only compounds over time. Often, doctors and other healthcare providers put their own care off, focusing on their patients’ needs rather than their own. This happens for a number of reasons, especially in regard to mental health conditions.  

Recognizing that physicians can become disabled from mental conditions and impairments is an important part of comprehensive health care for physicians. This includes physician burnout. If you are a physician unable to work due to burnout, you need an experienced disability insurance lawyer on your side to help you obtain your disability insurance benefits. Do not let your insurance company deny you the benefits you are entitled to receive. Work with Seltzer & Associates to secure your disability insurance benefits. 

Increasing Incidences of Physician Burnout Burden the Medical Field

Physician burnout levels have increased in recent years. This is due to increased awareness of mental health concerns, recognition of burnout as a real, disabling medical condition, and the ongoing issues plaguing the medical field from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that continues today. In 2021, after roughly a year of the pandemic, physician burnout jumped to 62.8% compared to a previous rate of 38.2%. This increase in physician burnout, as well as burnout rates of other healthcare professionals, has placed an immense burden on the medical field. Those providing care for patients are not able to maintain the level of care expected and necessary, which puts patients at risk. Those who leave their medical careers due to physician burnout and the disabling effects leave a large hole in the medical community that is difficult to fill. Medical personnel who remain in the medical field are unable to fill all the gaps left behind by staffing shortages. As the remaining medical professionals strain to serve the medical community, they find themselves at increased risk for burnout as well. Burnout in the medical profession is a vicious cycle that we need to address for the health and well-being of patients and providers alike.

Physician Burnout is a Real Disabling Condition

Many people associate burnout with the colloquial sense of being fatigued and worn down. Others will confuse burnout with depression as they have similar or overlapping symptoms. However, burnout is so much more than that. Burnout results from chronic workplace stress, and workers in caregiving professions are considered to be at an increased risk for burnout due to occupational conditions. This occupational hazard puts physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals at an increased risk for burnout. 

Burnout symptoms include exhaustion, cognitive impairment, decreased work performance, and other symptoms related to depression. We collectively as a community need to do more to recognize when those in the “caring professions” are struggling and suffering and get them the medical care they need as well as support them through disability by removing the stigma of mental health conditions and fighting for support and benefits such as disability insurance benefits when doctors are unable to continue practicing medicine.

Reasons Physicians Ignore Treatment for Burnout

There are many reasons that physicians ignore their symptoms of burnout and resist treatment. Overall, the reasoning often comes down to career concerns. First, there are concerns over licensing and credentialing. Burnout can occur as early as medical school, so medical students and residents can find themselves in need of support and care to prevent or treat burnout but fear the repercussions of admitting to symptoms, illness, or treatment on applications for licensure or employment. Even after physicians have an established career, they may fear that admitting to symptoms of a mental condition could prevent career advancement or place them under additional scrutiny that could disrupt their medical career progress. They do not want to be 

Another reason that physicians ignore their own burnout is that medical professionals have been trained to deal with strenuous working conditions and accept unreasonable career demands as a part of being a physician. Long hours, traumatic cases, and physical strain contribute to physician burnout. It is unreasonable to expect physicians to put their health secondary to their patients to the extent it puts their patients and coworkers in harm’s way. Burnout, depression, and PTSD have all contributed to unsafe working conditions for physicians and are even correlated to a high suicide rate in the medical profession compared to the general population. 

Changes in Disability Awareness Help Physicians Suffering from Burnout

While there is still an ongoing fight to have physician burnout recognized across the board, changes in disability awareness can help physicians who suffer from burnout. Recognizing that physician mental health is a critical component of physician health has been a positive step in getting physicians the support they need to take care of their own needs. Removing the stigma of reporting mental health conditions improves rates of treatment for disabling mental health conditions and symptoms that would otherwise go untreated.  Continued research in the medical community, with support from the legal community to change policies, encourages physicians to support one another in receiving appropriate treatment for physicians. Additionally, helping disability insurance companies realize that burnout and the associated symptoms are real disabling conditions is an important step, and advocating for approval of disability insurance benefits due to burnout is essential in moving the needle on this significant issue in physician care. 

Seltzer & Associates works diligently to improve the awareness of conditions such as burnout to impress upon insurance companies the extent to which doctors suffer and are unable to continue practicing medicine, making it necessary for physicians and other medical professionals to pursue their disability insurance benefits in order to protect their financial well being while receiving the necessary treatment for burnout. You do not have to suffer alone. Changes in disability awareness are increasing support for physicians, and Seltzer & Associates has your back when obtaining the disability insurance benefits you deserve.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation for Disability Insurance Benefits

If burnout is preventing you from practicing medicine, you need to make a claim for the disability insurance benefits you deserve. Contact Seltzer & Associates by completing our online form or calling 888-699-4222 for your free consultation for your claim for disability insurance benefits.