Recent Findings Reveal Gaps in Understanding and Treatment of Depression

Depression Can Lead to Medical Errors by Surgeons, Cause Personal Embarrassment for Some Patients

Common during the holiday season, depression is continually being examined to improve upon awareness and treatment, with a recent study detailing how this illness along with burnout are closely related to medical errors during surgeries and a separate survey suggesting that 71 percent of the public admits to knowing little about depression.

As detailed in the Annals of Surgery, approximately 7,905 surgeons participated in a confidential survey-study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, with 700 of them (8.9 percent) admitting that they made major medical errors during surgery.

More than 70% of these 700 surgeons blamed the errors on themselves, with depression, “mental quality of life,” emotional exhaustion, perceptions of career accomplishments and other factors of burnout related to the medical mistakes.

According to the study’s researchers, some surgeons admitted that previous medical mistakes followed them and contributed to their distress, suggesting the need for improved support systems for such depressed surgeons.

Similarly, a recent survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provided insight on the need for more education and awareness about depression.

In addition to more than 70 percent of the public expressing skepticism about knowing much about depression, the survey also found that nearly 20 percent of people unfortunately still view depression as a sign of personal weakness.

Additionally, 23 percent of the population acknowledged in the survey that they would be embarrassed to tell others that they suffer from depression.

Affecting 15 million adults (roughly 5-8 percent of the adult population) in a given year, depression is one of the most common emotions associated with long-term back pain, often having ravaging effects on sleep, social activity, work, personal identity and many other areas of life.

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