While burnout is still a newly recognized medical condition, it has been around for centuries. Burnout is a psychological syndrome that is produced by extensive exposure to stress in the workplace. The main symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, cynicism toward work and feelings of inadequacy. It has also been linked with physical and psychological consequences that lead to a reduction in your quality of life. 

We have been hearing a lot about physician burnout, which is affecting almost half of doctors. But burnout can also affect dentists. 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

We know that the pandemic has significantly impacted burnout among dentists and others. The isolation felt in the beginning of the pandemic due to stay-at-home orders played a key role in some of that burnout development. 

Prior to the pandemic, about 44% of dentists were fully engaged in their work. But during the pandemic, that number dropped to about 19%. The pandemic significantly impacted dentists’ well-being as well as others in health care. 

You should be aware of burnout

Burnout is an occupational hazard for all professions, especially for those in health care. This is due to the high levels of emotional support health care jobs demand. In fact, as health professionals, we often have this desire to prioritize our patients’ needs to the detriment of our own. 

Making matters worse, many health professionals are reluctant to seek help for their burnout. As a result, they often struggle with their mental health alone. That won’t help with burnout, though. To add to that, the direct and indirect costs of chronic stress and burnout are a serious concern because they can impact turnover. This results in more employee vacancies and higher hiring costs.

Seek help now

If you feel like you are suffering from burnout, it is important to reach out for help. Whether it is talking to a loved one or a therapist, it is important to know that you are not alone. We all go through added stress, especially through the pandemic.

We are all in this together and it is important that everyone knows that it is OK to ask for help. If you do feel like you are experiencing burnout, I am here to talk as well. We can’t–and shouldn’t–suffer alone.