Doctors have alarmingly high rates of depression. One reason: medical school.

Dec 9, 2016, 1:36pm EST

Nearly one in three medical students and residents grapple with depression. 
Martin Barraud/Getty

Over the course of Elisabeth Poorman’s first year of medical residency, she went from crying occasionally to tearing up every single day.

«I couldn’t sleep even when I had time off,» she said of the rapid decline in her mental health in 2013. «I didn’t really have any motivation to do anything when I wasn’t at work.» She’d leave the clinic at Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts feeling overwhelmed and sad. Then she’d go home and sob.

Her depression worsened before it got better. A year into her residency, Poorman decided to turn to a psychiatrist for help. Within a few months of treatment, her depression began to ease. Looking back now, she’s clear on the root of her blues: «Fundamentally, medical schools and residency cause mental health disorders,» she said. «They cause depression.»

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