Medical students at higher alcohol abuse risk: Study

New York, March 15 (IANS) A team of US researchers has found that medical students, especially who are young, single and under high debt are twice as likely to abuse alcohol than their peers who are not attending medical school.

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Burnout factors such as emotional exhaustion or feelings of depersonalisation were highly associated with alcohol abuse or dependence among the medical students.

“Our findings clearly show there is reason for concern,” said Liselotte Dyrbye from Mayo Clinic in the US.

“We recommend institutions pursue a multifaceted solution to address related issues with burnout, the cost of medical education and alcohol abuse,” Dyrbye added in the paper published in the journal Academic Medicine.

The researchers surveyed 12,500 medical students and one-third of those responded. Approximately 1,400 of that subgroup experienced clinical alcohol abuse or dependence.

The results indicate three factors that were independently associated — a younger age than most peers in medical school, being unmarried and amount of educational debt.

No statistical difference was found between differing years of medical school or between men and women.

“In our paper we recommend wellness curricula for medical schools, identifying and remediating factors within the learning environment contributing to stress and removal of barriers to mental health services,” added first author Eric Jackson.

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