Health care workers experience PTSD, trauma heightened by COVID

Frontline healthcare professionals, including ICU staff and nurses, have shown symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that have intensified during the pandemic. Reuters reports.

Why it is important: The recent increase in COVID cases in the United States, largely driven by the Delta variant, may further increase the number of health care workers experiencing symptoms of the disorder.

Between the lines: Before the pandemic, studies found that the incidence of PTSD in healthcare professionals ranged from 10% to 50% per year. Reuters.

  • About 5,000 U.S. doctors stop every two years due to burnout, according to Christine Sinsky, a vice president of the American Medical Association.
  • The suicide rate among doctors is double that of the public. The cost of suicidal ideation among frontline health workers rose as they spent more time in COVID-related units per day. Reuters.

What they say: “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 all in all, we have these key neurobiology-specific functions that are the same,” he added.
  • “It keeps getting worse and worse. We’re on our way back to that place – it aroused those feelings again,” nurse Pascaline Muhindura said, according to Reuters.

If you or someone you know might be considering suicide, contact us National uterine prevention of suicide at 1-800-273-8255 (English: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or Crisis text line by sending HOME to 741741.

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