Dentists Facing Depression And Suicide

An article published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association claims that many dentists are at risk of suffering from a chronic mood disorder known as dysthymia. It's a condition the Université de Montréal Department of Dentistry is fighting - preventively.

Dysthymia is characterized by loss of appetite, low levels of energy, desperation, excessive anger, social withdrawal and working long hours to compensate for declining performance, troubles in concentration, guilt and suicidal thoughts.

A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association claims that 10 percent of the 560 dentists surveyed suffer from this condition. However, only 15 percent of them are followed by a doctor and receive treatment.

Wwhat about dentists in Canada and Quebec? The Ordre des dentistes du Québec doesn't have data on the depression and suicide rates of its 4,360 practitioners. That doesn't make the issue any less real according to Gilles Lavigne, dean of the Université de Montréal Faculty of Dentistry.

"When I was a student, we were already sensitized to this particularity of the profession," says Dr. Lavigne. "But it is a problem that affects all health professionals, not just dentists."

In 1998, the Université de Montréal established a prevention program to help future dentists cope with stress before irritability and exhaustion lead to depression. The program includes information and training on the issue. In addition, the curriculum now includes two psychology classes that focus on the theory and practice of the stress a dentist will face.

Dr. Lavigne has known depressive individuals who have committed suicide, and he feels reassured by the prevention program now in place. "To my knowledge, there hasn't been a fatal act at the Faculty of Dentistry in the past 10 years," he says. "The program seems to have had the intended preventive effect. And depression is less stigmatized today, contrarily to my generation, youngsters today speak about it more openly. This helps us provide them with better support."


steve said…
Are we connected or socially disconnected…I personally believe that technology has reduced our social capital—the

relationships that bind people together and create a sense of community.

Consequences include decreased civility, loss of behavioural boundaries

and increased crime. We must find ways to deal with our profound loss of

social connectedness.Even though technological advances have contributed significantly to the problem of isolation, the emphasis on individualism in today’s society has

compounded it.

more:didier grossemy
ana said…
I didn't know about "dysthymia" until I read it here in your blog. Anyway, thank you for posting as I read blog on a nightly basis and found this nice blog of your today.

At least I know now and I am conscious about it and will do anything that leads to dysthymia to avoid it all. Thank you. - Vancouver Cosmetic Dentist
Dentists encounter numerous sources of professional stress, beginning in dental school. This stress can have a negative impact on their personal and professional lives.

However, in order to enjoy satisfying professional and personal lives, dentists must be aware of the importance of maintaining good physical and mental health.

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