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From Spokane to McCall
  1. Felipe C Albuquerque
  1. Correspondence to Dr Felipe C Albuquerque, Department of Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix AZ 85013, USA; Felipe.Albuquerque{at}

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Last month’s Editor’s Column on neurointerventionalists and burnout raised important concerns about affective disorders and how they specifically impact our lives as physicians.1 Reflecting on the increasing burden of stroke consultations, Fargen and Hirsch suggested that physician burnout is best mitigated through partnerships between healthcare administration and individual practitioners.1–3 One concern is whether burnout is truly a psychological condition in itself or whether it is just a euphemism for depression and other affective disorders that carry a greater stigma.

Many studies employing a variety of methodologies have evaluated depression among physicians. A recent meta-analysis provided sobering evidence that the problem is not only common but increasing in prevalence.4 In their evaluation of 54 studies involving 15 600 resident physicians, Mata et al reported an overall incidence of depression or depressive symptoms in 28.8%.4 Interestingly, this analysis, which reviewed studies from 1963 to 2015, also found that the incidence of depression increased with the advancing calendar year. Rates of depression were also not statistically different between surgical and non-surgical specialties, suggesting that the occurrence of depression was linked to the residency experience …

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  • Funding The authors have not been given a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.