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Increased Risk Of Suicide Among Physicians

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It is a sad statistic but death by suicide is a major occupational hazard for physicians and the numbers are startling.

Male physicians are 40% more likely to commit suicide than the general public, and female physicians have a 130% higher suicide rate. It gets even worse.

A study of seven medical schools found an unusually high number of medical students contemplating suicide.

The key factor at all levels appears to be burnout due to a combination of high expectations and an ever increasing workload and information to master. Burnout is common among medical students and is associated with a two to threefold increased risk of thinking about suicide.

There is an ever-growing pressure being placed on people in many areas of life to work longer hours with greater pressure and the price can be high.