MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Location: file:///C:/2EC83209/14.careersuicidebyahmedaltimimi.htm Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" Career Suidide



Career Suicide


Do dentists actually have the highest suicide rates amongst all profession, medical or otherwise? I decided to do some research= and find out the facts and give it to the people straight up. With the help of TheStraightDope.com, I came to a conclusion.


Let me shed some light= on the topic by telling you how this story began. It was traced back= to a study in 1933 and again in 1960, where is it is shown that dentists, physic= ians and lawyers all had high suicide rates. This could be true, because accordi= ng to  Dr. Herbert Hendin, a psychiatrist, people with a higher education also have a higher risk of committing suicide.Since then, dentistry was conside= red to be “a suicidal” profession.


Some people might cons= ider dentistry to be a stressful job, however, this might not be true. The patie= nt might feel stressful when coming in for the extraction or root canal, so he might assume the dentist to be stressed as well. If the patient is difficult then the dentist will have a difficult job, and the more difficult patient there are, the more stress the dentist “accumulates”. In extreme conditions this accumulative stress could lead to suicide. Others might say dentistry is considered as a low status job (which I find hard to believe) = and that the relationships formed with the patients never seem to be that good. Maybe this is because most people hate dentists and can’t suck it in = for 15 minutes so the dentists can extract your upper first premolar.


In order to definitive= ly say if dentist are truly suicidal, lets look at actual research that was carried out. Research in the past 40 yrs showed that both physicians and dentist have a high suicide rate. More research by Steven Stack showed that dentists are 6.64 times more likely to commit suicide then the people in the general population. This may be due to the fact that patients at the dental clinic are usually awake and hence more hostile than say a patient going in= for open heart surgery.  A group of researchers in Oregon showed that dentists have the highest suicide rate in any group of people. = In California however, chemists and pharmacists have a higher suicide rate than dentists, and if we go to <= st1:place w:st=3D"on">Washington, dentist were ranked second= in having the highest suicide rates. Number one for suicides in Washington were sheepherders and wool-workers.


So, which do we believ= e? Oregon famous for its golfing, Washington, home of the president, or Cal= ifornia, city of the angels? I say none of them, and I’ll tell you why.


First of all, dentists make up a small percentage of the population. Only a small amount of dentists die and only a small amount= of these death are suicide. Take Sweden for example, which is believed to have a high amount of dental suicides. The number of dentist-death, which were suicides during this time of study, was= 18. What we need is some actual numbers:

U.S. white male popula= tion 25 and older (1970): 1.5
U.S. white male dentis= ts (1968-72): 2.0 (85 of 4,190)
U.S. white male medical doctors (1967-72): 3.0 (544 of 17,979)
U.S. white male popula= tion 25 and older (1990): 2.0
U.S. white male medical doctors (1984-95): 2.7 (379 of 13,790)

(Sources: Vital Statistics of the United States--1970,= National Center for Health Statistics, Table 1-26, "Deaths from 281 Selected Causes, by Age, Race, and Sex: United States, 1970"; death certificates from 31 states, reported in "Mortality of Dentists, 1968 = to 1972," Bureau of Economic Research and Statistics, Journal of the American Dental Association, January 1975, pp. 195ff; death reports col= lected by the American Medical Association, reported in "Suicide by Psychiatrists: A Study of Medical Specialists Among 18,730 Physician Deaths During a Five-Year Period, 1967-72," Rich et al., Journal of Clinic= al Psychiatry, August 1980, pp. 261ff.; Vital Statistics of the United States--1990, National Center for Health Statistics, Table 1-27, "Deaths from 282 Selected Causes, by 5-Year Age Groups, Race, and Sex: United States--1990"; National Occupational Mortality Surveillance database, reported in "Mortality Rates and Causes Among U.S. Physicians," Frank et al., American Journal of Preventive Medicine,= Vol. 19, No. 3, 2000.


So as you can see from these numbers, dentists do not have the highest suicide rates, it’s in fact medical doctors. However, dentists’ and medical doctors’ d= eath rates due to other causes are low, and people in the medical field usually = have a higher than average life expectancy. We cannot say that dentists have the highest suicide rates in the world until we get more statistics concerning suicidal dentists. But then, who is the most suicidal when it come to the medical field? It’s not the medical doctors. It’s the psychiatrists. According to the article “Suicide by PsychiatristsR= 21;, from the year 1967-72, 7% of the total 18,730 physician-deaths where psychiatrists, and 12% from the total 593 physician-suicides.


Dr. Roger E. Alexander of Baylor Colleg= e of Dentistry in Dallas claims that the media is the one that portrays dentists as suicidal and peo= ple often accept this myth. I personally even heard that’s it’s an actual sentence you have to know and memorize in order to pass the USMLE. A research consisting of 8,945 death certificates of Canadian and American dentist, in which the actual cause of death was known, showed that they had= a lower death rate than the average white male.


So now who are you going to believe? Ag= ain, let me tell you. Neither! We can’t be too sure because all the statis= tics available are too old and based mainly on white male dentists. Now dentistr= y is as diverse as medicine with people from many cultures and religions who bel= ieve that suicide is a sin. That should lower the suicide rate a bit.


What about in Kuwait? From what I can see most doctors and dentists here are doing well and earni= ng big bucks, so there is no need to worry about suicide.  In the end, we can’t be too = sure about this story. One could say it’s a worldwide conspiracy created by people like the media and physicians to scare away patients since we , the dentists, are earning bigger bucks, living a life or luxury, and work less = than twenty hours a day. But one could only say…


By Ahmed Al Timimi