January 14, 1983

Psychiatric Illness in Physicians

Author Affiliations

State University of New York-Downstate Long Island College Hospital Brooklyn


edited by Samuel E. D. Shortt, 329 pp, with illus, $34.75, Springfield, III, Charles C Thomas Publisher, 1982.

JAMA. 1983;249(2):283. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330260089051

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The eye-catching title of this book is a reminder that physicians are not invulnerable to the effects of stress and anxiety, however shielded from these common forces society may deem them to be.

In his preface, the author warns the physician with symptoms against following the ancient advice, "Physician, heal thyself." This nostrum has been updated to read, "Doctor, find professional help." As a group at high risk for psychiatric impairment, physicians are advised that prevention and early case finding are extremely important.

Unfortunately, aside from the preface, the book consists of previously published material. Chapters such as those dealing with narcotic addiction and the use of mood altering drugs could stand a fresh approach, since they were printed originally in 1964 and 1970. One also wonders if suicide rates for female physicians are still as high as those reported in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

This book compiles