Health care workers experience PTSD, trauma heightened by COVID
Front-line health workers, including ICU staffers and nurses, have displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that has been heightened during the pandemic, Reuters reports.
Why it matters: The recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the United States, largely driven by the Delta variant, may further increase the number of health workers experiencing symptoms of the disorder.
Between the lines: Before the pandemic, studies found that rates of PTSD in health workers varied from 10% to 50%, per Reuters.
- About 5,000 U.S. physicians quit every two years due to burnout, according to Christine Sinsky, an American Medical Association vice president.
- The suicide rate among doctors is twice that of the general public. Rates of suicidal thoughts among front-line health workers increased as they spent more time in COVID-related units, per Reuters.
What they're saying: "On the surface, a nurse at your local hospital will not look like a guy coming back from Afghanistan," Bessel van der Kolk told Reuters.
- "But underneath it all, we have these core neurobiology-determined functions that are the same," he added.
- "It keeps getting worse and worse. We are heading back to that place — that woke up those emotions again," said nurse Pascaline Muhindura, per Reuters.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.