Alcohol dependence is a serious problem among medical students

Burnout factors and education debt put medical students under so much pressure that they look to ease pressure by consuming alcohol. The concerning revelation came from a study that has found that medical students are at higher risk of alcohol dependence.

In the study, the researchers have surveyed 12,500 medical students in the United States. Around 1,400 medical students reported alcohol abuse or dependence, the number forms to be around a third of medical students who responded.

In contrast, around 16% of individuals not in medical school have an alcohol abuse. The researchers have found that medical students were having twice the rate of alcohol problems compared to the general public.

When factors were assessed, a strong link between burnout factors like emotional exhaustion and problem drinking among medical students was found. Younger age, unmarried status and massive education debt were found to be other factors pushing medical students into alcohol problem.

Education debt was another problem that could be the reason for alcohol dependence among medicine students. Average cost of medical school education has increased by more than 200% from 1995 to 2014. The researchers have pointed out that a medical degree in 2014 had an average of $180,000 in educational debt.

“Our findings clearly show there is reason for concern. We recommend institutions pursue a multifaceted solution to address related issues with burnout, the cost of medical education and alcohol abuse”, affirmed study senior author Dr. Liselotte Dyrbye, an internist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Study’s first author Eric Jackson from Mayo Medical School said that he has recommended wellness programs in medical schools. These programs should be designed in such a manner that they can identify what factor are adding to the stress. After knowing them, the programs should provide solution as well.

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