The unusually demanding nature of medical education leaves medical students at great risk of being hit with mental health issues. Mayo Clinic reported on March 14, 2016, medical students are more vulnerable to alcohol abuse than their peers who are not attending medical school. This becomes a particularly acute problem for medical students who are young, single and carrying a large debt for their education. The findings from this study on medical student burnout have been published in the journal Academic Medicine.
Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., Mayo Clinic internist and senior author of the paper, says the findings from this study show that there is good reason to be concerned. It has been recommended by the researchers that institutions pursue a multidimensional solution to address associated issues with burnout, the high cost of medical education and the problem of alcohol abuse.
The researchers surveyed 12,500 medical students and 33 percent of those students responded. About 1,400 of that subgroup who responded had experiences with clinical alcohol abuse or dependence. That translates to approximately one-third of those responding nationally in comparison to only 16 percent of peers who were not in medical school. Based on earlier research by the same team this came out to two times the rate of alcohol abuse or dependence of surgeons, U.S. physicians or the general public.
With alcohol abuse or dependence among medical students burnout issues such as emotional exhaustion or feelings of depersonalization are often seen. There are three other factors which have been found to be independently associated with this problem:
- A younger age than most of their peers in medical school
- Not being married
- The amount of educational debt
To make matters even worse the very doctors medical students are told to trust with their problems, the psychiatrists, consistently only make things worse and generally finish off their careers before they ever get started. As the Citizens Commission on Human Rights has highlighted psychiatry is a destructive discipline. While the psychiatrists pose as if they are authorities on the mind and mental health psychiatry itself actually does not have any scientific basis for any of its consistently harmful treatments or methods. Unless psychiatry is actually abolished and replaced with humane natural approaches to mental health care it appears the many medical students who understandably are confronted with mental health issues during the course of their demanding and expensive education are doomed.