In 2011, a group of researchers embarked on a national study to measure burnout among physicians. They found that 45 percent of U.S. doctors met the criteria for burnout, which manifests as emotional exhaustion, a loss of meaning in one’s work, feelings of ineffectiveness, and a tendency to see people as objects rather than fellow humans. Less than a handful of years later, the problem has gotten significantly worse.
That people who work nights have their sleep cycles thrown out of balance has serious consequences but urging a potentially habit-forming, psychoactive drug on an economically stressed, overworked workforce, would seem to be a symptom, at the minimum, of a pharmaceutical industry gone awry. Shouldn’t we instead be figuring out how to reduce the occupational health risks of work schedules?
It took six years of going from doctor to doctor to doctor for Penney Cowan to finally receive a diagnosis for her chronic pain: fibromyalgia. Doctors had told her she'd just have to learn to live with the pain — a condition that some days made it hard to lift a cup of coffee. So when she decided to join the pain program at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic, she didn't have high hopes. She says she expected the effort to fail.