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Working as a psychiatrist can be regarded as a very stressful occupation.

In their study of 66 respondent psychiatrists Rathod et al (2000) found that the areas most frequently rated as stressful were out of hours duties, dealing with difficult and hostile relatives of patients, working long hours, arranging admissions, paperwork, demands of job interfering with personal life, responsibility of suicidal and homicidal patients, recent changes within the NHS on increasing workload and bed scarcities. While Guthrie et al (1999)reported the stresses most frequently cited were personal problems, problems involving patients (such as suicide and violence), career threat and administrative problems which were all similar to our findings.

Psychiatrists deal with this stress in a number of ways. Rathod et al (2000) reported in their survey that 11% of their psychiatrists sought counselling and 19% saw their general practitioner for stress, 51% seriously considered retiring and 11% considered suicide, while their was frequent use of alcohol, rates of tiredness (42%), anxiety (29%) and depression (23%) which suggest that subjects coping skills were stretched by the demands of thei work

See alsoEdit


  • Benbow, S. M. & Jolley, D. J. (1998) Psychiatrists under stress. Psychiatric Bulletin, 22, 1-2
  • Case, P. & Littlewood, S. (1999) Alarming levels of stress and burn-out (letter). Psychiatric Bulletin, 23, 506.
  • Guthrie, E., TAattan, T., Williams, E., et al (1999) Sources of stress, psychological distress and burnout in psychiatrists. Comparison of junior doctors, senior registrars and consultants. Psychiatric Bulletin, 23, 207-212.
  • Hale, R. (1997) How our patients make us ill. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 3, 254-258
  • Hale, R. & Hudson, L. (1992) The Tavistock study of young doctors: report of the pilot phase. British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 47, 452-164.
  • Kendell, R. E. & Pearce, A. (1997) Consultant psychiatrists who retired prematurely in 1995 and 1996. Psychiatric Bulletin, 21, 741-745.
  • Margison, F. R. (1987) Stress in Psychiatrists. In Stress in Health Professionals (eds R. Payne and J. Firth-Cozens), pp. 107-124. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  • McKevitt, C, Morgan, M, Simpson, et al (1996) Doctors' Health and Needs for Services. London: Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust.
  • Rathod, S., Roy, L., Ramsey, M., et al (2000) A survey of stress in psychiatrists working in the Wessex Region. Psychiatric Bulletin, 24, 133-136Full text]

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