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Author Topic: Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?  (Read 3583 times)

Offline Joe L. Ogan

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I was surprised to learn that women physicians have a 130 percent higher suicide rate than the general population of women.  Why?  Male physicans have a 40 percent higher rate of suicide than the general male population.  Why?  Can anyone give more information about these anomalies?  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan
« Last Edit: 30/09/2010 22:42:14 by Joe L. Ogan »


 

Offline RD

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Re: Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #1 on: 24/09/2010 07:37:04 »
Even worse with  veterinarians …

Quote
veterinarians are four times as likely to commit suicide than the average person; twice as likely as our human healthcare counterparts.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/pets/2010-04-02-dolittler02_ST_N.htm


Medics and veterinarians are more familiar with death than average folks.
Also they have ready access to the necessary pharmaceuticals for “the big sleep“.
 

Offline JnA

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Re: Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #2 on: 25/09/2010 01:20:55 »
I agree that it's probably more of a consequence of access to the means for success than a professional anomaly.

You would have to look at the professions of all those attempts that are unsuccessful and find the reasons why they are unsuccessful to make any real comparison.,



 

Offline chris

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Re: Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #3 on: 29/09/2010 08:59:04 »
Do the figures that you are citing refer to "attempted" or "successful / completed suicide" ?

Chris
 

Offline iko

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Re: Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #4 on: 29/09/2010 18:09:48 »
Do the figures that you are citing refer to "attempted" or "successful / completed suicide" ?

Chris

I would be surprised finding many "attempted suicides" in this category of life&death professionals...
Higher incidence of depression and substance abuse is also reported. It is a sad reality.
 

Offline chris

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Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #5 on: 01/10/2010 12:06:32 »
Thank you, but my point is that the apparently high suicide rate amongst medical professionals (for example) most likely reflects access to the means to end life; if you were to look at incompleted / unsuccessful suicides amongst the general population you'd find a very high level of failed suicides because people lack the means. I saw a patient once who told me he'd tried to end his life by gassing himself in his caravan. He (luckily) failed because the gas ran out before he succeeded. But a doctor armed with a syringe charged with a big dose of insulin (or an opiate for example) is much less likely to fail if he injects himself.

Chris
 

Offline iko

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Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #6 on: 01/10/2010 13:23:08 »
I see your point Chris,

nevertheless, a higher incidence of depression and substance abuse would increase attempted and successful suicides anyway.
« Last Edit: 01/10/2010 13:25:38 by iko »
 

Offline rosy

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Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #7 on: 01/10/2010 13:48:08 »
Iko
Sure, but if you've got the "attempted" rates for both groups then the impact of greater or lesser rates of success are reduced and the data are more comparable. Whereas the data for deaths by suicide are really not comparable at all given the huge differences in access to reliable means.

Of course, it's a bit more complicted than that, since the number of people who have successfully committed suicide in the past and go on to make a further attempt in the future is going to be zero, and that's not true of past unsucessful suicide attempts. Since the rate of unsuccessful suicides per attempt is almost certainly going to be lower among medics that would skew the data unless it were sufficiently sophisticated to take account of that. Which will make medics look less likely to kill themselves the population as a whole.
 

Offline rosy

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Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #8 on: 01/10/2010 13:55:25 »
On the other hand, the difference in suicide rate between male and female doctors probably suggests that there is a difference at least there in the wish to commit suicide, because I think it's reasonable to assume that gender isn't all that significant in the access that doctors have to the means to kill themselves.
 

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Why do physicians have an above-average suicide rate?
« Reply #8 on: 01/10/2010 13:55:25 »

 

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