The Healthy & Unhealthy Ways Physicians Cope with Burnout


Nearly half of physicians are now using positive coping mechanisms to deal with burnout, as opposed to turning to more unhealthy, self-destructive options, according to the 2020 National Physician Burnout & Suicide Report by Medscape.

The results, which came from asking more than 15,000 physicians in over 29 specialties to select all coping mechanisms they use, show that self-isolation and exercise are the methods most commonly used by physicians, with both accounting for 45% of responses and tying for the top spot. Talking with family members and close friends was the third most widely used method, with 42% of respondents identifying this as a chosen coping mechanism, and sleeping ranking as the fourth most popular method, with 40% selecting this option.

The full list was not made up of entirely healthy methods, however. Other highly ranked ways physicians deal with burnout included eating junk food (33%), drinking alcohol (24%), and binge eating (20%).

The full list included:

  • Isolate myself from others – 45%
  • Exercise – 45%
  • Talk with family members/close friends – 42%
  • Sleep – 40%
  • Eat junk food – 33%
  • Play or listen to music – 32%
  • Drink alcohol – 24%
  • Binge eat – 20%
  • Smoke cigarettes/use products containing nicotine – 3%
  • Use prescription drugs – 2%
  • Smoke marijuana/consume marijuana products – 1%
  • Other – 12%
  • None of the above – 3%

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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