Burnout syndrome in dentistry, difficulties and search for solutions. A critical review.
Burnout syndrome (BOS) is defined as a gradual exhaustion of the individual that appears on people whose occupation requires direct contact with other people and providing them a helpful service. BOS tends to be associated with somatic and behavioral alterations, as well as emotional disorders. Dentists present an important workplace risk, since they are the most prone to suffer from BOS. Likewise, dentistry students present a varied prevalence of stress, generally due to the students’ attitudes, which are mostly aimed at perfection and excellence, as well as academic, social and institution-related factors. The aim of this review is to identify factors involved in BOS in dentistry and preventive measures in educational and professional contexts. BOS is characterized by being a persistent negative mental state showing fatigue, exhaustion and disappointment. The main physical reaction generated by academic stress in dentistry students was sleepiness with 10.8%, followed by increase in food consumption with 6.4%, and restlessness and despair with 5.2%. Students might be severely affected according to the adaptive response that they present, which is individual. On the one hand, they might face the challenges in a positive manner, managing to learn from them. On the other hand, the might lose control and not be able to face difficulties, thus being likely to develop pathological states of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and dependency on alcohol or other hallucinogenic substances. Education agents are particularly relevant, since they contribute to the configuration of the students’ way of thinking and acting. Therefore, the integration of critical thinking and socioemotional abilities must be promoted and reinforced among the educational community. It is important to realize that the presence of BOS is not due to an individual weakness, but is a symptom that something is wrong with the educational institution.
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