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Distress is characterized by a wide variety of disruptive emotions and reactions following a significant traumatic event. (Please see the Stress Assessment Checklist.) It is not a diagnosis but a normal response to abnormal events such as significant clinical adverse events and lawsuits. Manifestations include:
Physicians need reassurance that, in most instances, these are usually shared reactions that will dissipate spontaneously in time. If they persist and do not resolve within a reasonable period, consultation is warranted. We need to observe whether or not we are engaging in counterproductive or self-defeating behaviors such as being hostile and non-cooperative with our attorneys or exhibiting dysfunctional behaviors. Suggestions for helping doctors help themselves respond more effectively during this period are outlined in this section on Physician Support Resources and the "Coping" article on the homepage and include:
Please see the Stress Assessment Checklist.