Is Today’s 21st Century Burnout 19th Century’s Neurasthenia?
by Don Lipsitt, MD
This essay addresses the relevance of the concept of “burnout” to concerns about the mental and physical health of today’s physicians and those training to join the medical profession. Comparisons are made with the diagnosis of neurasthenia in the 19th century. Social contributors to and the influence of stress on the phenomena in each instance are presented.
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 207(9): 773-777, September 2019.
Don R. Lipsitt, MD, is a member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a past president of the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine. The founder of two journals on consultation-liaison psychiatry, he is the recipient of several lifetime achievement awards for contributions to the field and the author of Foundations of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry: The Bumpy Road to Specialization (Routledge, 2016). The Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine has inaugurated the “Don R. Lipsitt Award for Achievement in Integrated and Collaborative Care.”
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