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February 1985

The Impaired Physician

Author Affiliations

Box C259 4200 E Ninth Ave Denver, CO 80262

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(2):146. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140040044023

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This is an important book. It deals candidly with the subject of physician impairment, involving doctors who experience serious emotional illness, alcoholism and/or abuse of other drugs, and suicidal problems, a subject that is receiving increasing attention.

The book is divided into six parts. Part 1 includes four chapters and deals with the emotional problems of physicians. The first chapter defines their nature and extent and discusses the signs and symptoms of the impaired physician, such as overwork, increasing isolation, and depression, with characteristic failure to ask for help. Estimates of the incidence of alcoholism, drug dependence, and mental disorders in physicians are included, and the issue of physician suicide is raised.

The second chapter, written by two prominent women psychiatrists, deals with the special problems faced by women physicians. These include the paucity of satisfactory role models, negative attitudes toward women physicians, and conflicts between career and child rearing.

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