Survey: 15% of Surgeons Struggle With Alcohol Abuse

An online anonymous poll has found 15 percent of surgeons have an alcohol use disorder, exceeding the average alcohol abuse rate for the public at large, according to a HealthDay report from U.S. News & World Report.

Of 7,200 respondents, roughly 14 percent of male and 26 percent of female surgeons indicated alcohol abuse or dependence. These figures are nearly double the 8 percent of women and 12 percent of men typically cited for alcohol abuse among the public.

Still, despite the prevalence of alcohol abuse, a study author said direct patient harm associated with chemical dependency is "very, very rare" and estimated to affect one in every 10,000 patients, according to the report.

Symptoms associated with alcohol abuse cited in the poll include depression, emotional exhaustion, suicidal thinking, distress and burn-out. Surgeons who had made a major medical error in the past three months were also more likely to struggle with alcohol.

Related Articles on Physician Morale:

Survey: 73% of Physicians "Not Excited" About Future of Medicine
Study: Employees at Patient-Centered Medical Homes Likely to Have High Morale
The Unhappy Physician: Why Hospitals Need to Take Morale Seriously

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