Burnout May Drive Surgeons To Drink

Tue, 02/21/2012 - 5:36am
Kristina Fiore

Surgeons may struggle with alcohol use disorders that are potentially related to burnout and depression, survey results suggested.

Just over 15 percent of surgeons who participated in the survey met criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, version C (AUDIT-C), Michael Oreskovich, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues reported in theArchives of Surgery.

Those who reported alcohol abuse were more likely to have made recent medical errors and were also more likely to be burned-out or depressed.

"Although this point prevalence may not be significantly different from what is found in the general population, the repercussions of use may be more consequential in physicians," they wrote.

Since there are few data on alcohol use disorders among physicians, the researchers conducted an online survey of more than 25,000 members of the American College of Surgeons; a total of 7,197 responded -- a low response rate that could affect the estimate.

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