Approximately one third of medical school students meet criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence ― double the rate of their age-matched non–med student peers ― with burnout and high educational debt primarily to blame, new research shows.
"This is the first study to explore the relationship between alcohol abuse/dependence and burnout among medical students," senior author Lotte N. Dyrbye, MD, professor of medicine and medical education at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, in Rochester, Minnesota, told Medscape Medical News.
"In this national cohort of medical students, a third [of students] met criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence. That is a much higher prevalence than what has been previously reported in similarly aged US college graduates," Dr Dyrbye said.
The findings are from a national survey that the investigators sent to 12,500 medical students in 2012. The study was published online March 1 in Academic Medicine.
Physician suicide is medicine's "dirty little secret," family medicine physician Pamela Wible, MD, says in a TEDMED Talk released on March 23.
In the video, Dr Wible describes losing two boyfriends in medical school to suicide and blames the hazing culture of medical training as well as the "assembly line" practice of medicine for leading physicians to want to kill themselves. Studies have shown that physicians experience depression and commit suicide at a rate higher than in the general population.
Dr Wible, who runs a family medicine practice in Eugene, Oregon, says she unwittingly became a specialist in physician suicide after starting to talk and write about the topic. "Because I'm listening with my heart and soul 24/7, my cell phone has turned into a suicide hotline, and I've received hundreds of letters from suicidal physicians," she says.
Check out Dr Wible's TEDMED Talk and tell us in this article's comments section whether you agree with her statements.