Being a doctor or a lawyer may lead to poor response to depression treatment, says study

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High status jobs, such as doctor and lawyer, are generally considered to be lucrative and prestigious. However, these jobs often come with long hours, high stress, and sacrifice of personal life.

Recently, scientists find that high status jobs can also bring harms to people’s health. In one study, researchers show that a high status job may lead to poor response to treatment of depression. The finding is published in European Neuropsychophamacology.

Researchers from University of Bologna in Italy, Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, Medical University of Vienna in Austria, University of London, and Tel-Aviv University in Israel conducted the study.

They recruited 645 patients who had major depressive disorder. The statuses of their jobs were various, including low levels, middle levels, and high levels (e.g., doctors, lawyers, managers, etc.). Researchers also recorded the patients’ responses to depression treatment.

The result showed that depressed patients from the high job level showed a significantly poorer response to their last depression treatment (e.g., failing to come back, more treatment resistance, etc.) than people from the low or middle job level.

In addition, these patients were treat less with antidepressants.

Researchers suggest that working at a high occupational level may be a risk factor for poor response to medication for depression.

It is possible that people with a high status job have more stress and feel more difficult to cope with illness or continue with medication. Their personality traits may also contribute to the poor response to treatment.

The finding implies that future treatment of depression should consider not only symptoms and genetics but also job status. Maybe different medication is needed for the same disorder in people with different job levels.


Citation: Mandelli L, et al. (2016). High occupational level is associated with poor response to treatment of depression. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 26: 1320. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2016.05.002.
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