Thursday, February 07, 2008

Fact or Fiction: Suicidal Dentists

Which profession has the highest suicide rate? Dentists of course! We've all heard it before, so often it must be true. All that bad breath and gum disease would probably make me suicidal too. On the other hand, the exhorbitant prices of a 5 minute check-up is probably incentive enough to stick with it - you can't spend your tooth fairy money when you're dead. What are the facts though? Are dentists really depressive, or is it a ploy for pity so we don't view them all as Dr. Szell from Marathon Man? The straight dope had the following to say:
"Suicide among white male American dentists is higher than average but not as high as among white male American doctors. (Sorry to limit this to white men, but that's all the data I had to work with.) Don't fret, though. Dentists' death rates from other causes are lower, and on average they live several years longer than the general population. Ditto for doctors."
The literature on the subject indicates that dentists are actually no more prone to suicide than the general population and that gender or dental subspecialty are not good predictors of depression (with the exception of pediatric dentistry and periodontics where females were more depressed than their male counterparts). The most recent data suggests that overall, white male dentists have a lower suicide rate than the rest of the working population but the reverse is true when looking only at older dentists. Despite the persistance of this myth, there is no strong evidence that as a group dentists are more suicidal than other professions, let alone have the highest rate of all of them.


5 comments:

Anonymous Coward said...

That's nothing. When I was working at the grad association (GSAED) we were negotiating a new health plan, so we had access to stats on how the plan was being used. Most of the prescription coverage was for anti-depressants. In fact suicide rates amongst graduate student are unusually high, and vastly surpass those of undergrad, and it's not specific to our university either, it's a common observation :

"When asked about the higher rate of suicide among graduate students, he responded, "We're not sure if it's a question of later onset of the major psychiatric disorders or whether it takes a number of years of having these illnesses untreated that [eventually] puts you in the danger zone." Silverman added that pressure to make decisions about a career or the future might also be a factor"

kamel said...

Most of the prescription coverage was for anti-depressants.

I wonder if that's true in general. And when you add in the fact that most depressives don't seek treatment...

Regarding your quote, the higher rate of suicide among grad students was relative to other students but *overall* college students were "far less likely to kill themselves than are nonstudent peers" (according to that study).

Canadian Dentist said...

Thanks for share interesting facts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharring importent information in this blog.
It was very nice.
Aşk flashları,yazılı soruları'new generation portal.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharring importent information in this blog.
It was very nice.
Aşk flashları,yazılı soruları'new generation portal.