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Disproportionate level of alcohol abuse seen in medical student population

March 21, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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While much attention has been given to substance use problems and their treatment among practicing physicians, a new study also points to cause for concern about use among medical students.

A Mayo Clinic study published in Academic Medicine, based on a survey of several thousand medical students, found that as a group they are more susceptible to alcohol abuse than peers who do not attend medical school. They also are at greater risk if they are younger, single, and facing high amounts of debt, the study reported.

“We recommend institutions pursue a multifaceted solution to address related issues with burnout, the cost of medical education and alcohol abuse,” senior author and Mayo Clinic internist Liselotte Dyrbye, MD, said in a news release.

Around one-third of the survey respondents reported experiencing alcohol abuse or dependence, a figure that is about twice the rate seen among peers or the broader general public.