Physicians are likely to hide a behavioral health condition rather than seek treatment because of stigma according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Michigan surveyed 2,000 female physicians in a closed Facebook group and found that nearly half of them thought they had met criteria for a mental illness at some point during their careers but had not sought treatment. Of those who had thought they were ill but did not get treatment, two thirds had decided against treatment because of fears that they might be stigmatized.
The physicians also cited a fear of barriers to licensure. Many state board examinations inquire after the presence of psychological conditions, regardless of whether a practitioner has long since recovered or has no functional impairment, according to HealthDay.
As Katherine Gold, the study's lead author, points out, this means that "we're...undertreating physicians at the same time [as] we're trying to break the stigma for the general population."