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National Doctor's Day: Coronavirus exacerbates burnout rate in doctors: How to address this crisis?

News Agencies | Updated on: 1 July 2020, 9:27 IST

With the contagious COVID-19 virus gripping the nation, the first line of defence, doctors and other healthcare workers have been caught in the eye of a storm.

The saviours are at the highest risk for depression, insomnia, anxiety, and increased alcohol consumption. The thought that you may cause the infection to your loved ones when you go back home every single day is crawling under their bellies.

"There is always a constant fear that runs in my mind that what if I am spreading the deadly coronavirus to my children, who diligently follow the hygiene guidelines as suggested by the health bodies," said Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Internal Medicine, Ujala Cygnus Orthocare Hospital, New Delhi.

Besides battling with fear, Dr Bajaj also struggles with sparing quality time for the family.

"Since life has become different especially for a healthcare professional, I try to utilize the time with my family as I know I might have just a couple of hours to spend with them in our 24-hour job. It's very hard to express those feelings as a father, who can't hug their children and kiss them," added Dr Bajaj.

Who would have thought that the person who could provide aid against the disease would be in the clutches of the disease itself? Doctors who are in hotspots usually show a higher degree of a psychological burden compared to the ones away from them.

"A large proportion of healthcare professionals, especially doctors are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and psychological distress. They report severe symptoms, which should not come as a surprise, as they often must engage in a lot of emotional labour, like reassuring patients, while keeping their own emotions in check," said Dr Shweta Sharma, Consultant-Clinical Psychologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram.

The old adage 'Prevention is Better than Cure' comes handy for the doctors when it comes to stopping the COVID-19 spread. The sole fear among doctors which increases anxiety level in them is of their family being affected due to them, along with long working hours with PPE kits.

"I practice Yoga, meditation to come out of depression and try spending quality time with my family with some recreational activities," said Dr Ashok Rai, BAMS, MD, Kanchan Poly Clinic, Badarpur.

"Though it is a noble profession, for one to embrace it every single day and fight one's fear and the patients' fear and illness is not an easy task. Doctors should be discussing with their peers and watch their moods in terms of feeling sad, mood swings, increased irritability, increased anger, please speak to someone competent to handle mental health," said Dr Preeti Singh, Sr Consultant Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

Like soldiers on the frontline, doctors are performing their duties during the ongoing pandemic with utmost diligence. We need to acknowledge their contribution and should express the gratitude in these testing times.

Life has become an emergency drill for medics working 24X7 at a full-fledged COVID-19 hospital armed with PPE kit and determination to save lives. National Doctor's Day, July 1, is a perfect day to thank all of them for their round the clock service.


Also Read: National Doctor's Day: VP Venkaiah Naidu extends wishes, greetings to medical fraternity

First published: 1 July 2020, 9:27 IST