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Psychoactive drug use among medical doctors is higher than in the general population


Domenighetti, Gianfranco; Tomamichel, Michele; Gutzwiller, Felix; Berthoud, Silvio; Casabianca, Antoine (1991). Psychoactive drug use among medical doctors is higher than in the general population. Social Science & Medicine, 33(3):269-274.

Abstract

We surveyed a representative sample of practising physicians and a representative sample of subjects from the Swiss general population (SOMIPOPS Survey) concerning their annual use of sleeping pills and tranquillizers. 77% of the physicians (n = 466) and 72% of the general population (n = 4255) responded. After adjustment for age and sex 37.1% of the doctors (general population 21.1% P less than 0.001) claimed to have taken these drugs for therapeutic purposes. The proportion of psychiatrists who reported taking sleeping pills and tranquillizers daily (10.6%) were significantly greater than for the population of doctors as a whole and for the general population (P less than 0.05). Regular users (i.e. subjects taking one mood altering drug at least once a week) accounted for 11.1% of the medical population compared with 6.8% of the general population (P less than 0.01). This over-consumption was wholly due to the greater number of regular users of psychoactive drugs amongst doctors less than 50 years of age relative to the general population or to subjects in higher management (from P less than 0.05 to P less than 0.001). Without this specific over-use, members of the medical profession would not have been found to use more psychoactive drugs than the general population and the executives. This result suggests that it would be worth investigating the mechanisms of response and adjustment (coping) to the specific stress that appears to be inherent in the exercise of medical practice.

Abstract

We surveyed a representative sample of practising physicians and a representative sample of subjects from the Swiss general population (SOMIPOPS Survey) concerning their annual use of sleeping pills and tranquillizers. 77% of the physicians (n = 466) and 72% of the general population (n = 4255) responded. After adjustment for age and sex 37.1% of the doctors (general population 21.1% P less than 0.001) claimed to have taken these drugs for therapeutic purposes. The proportion of psychiatrists who reported taking sleeping pills and tranquillizers daily (10.6%) were significantly greater than for the population of doctors as a whole and for the general population (P less than 0.05). Regular users (i.e. subjects taking one mood altering drug at least once a week) accounted for 11.1% of the medical population compared with 6.8% of the general population (P less than 0.01). This over-consumption was wholly due to the greater number of regular users of psychoactive drugs amongst doctors less than 50 years of age relative to the general population or to subjects in higher management (from P less than 0.05 to P less than 0.001). Without this specific over-use, members of the medical profession would not have been found to use more psychoactive drugs than the general population and the executives. This result suggests that it would be worth investigating the mechanisms of response and adjustment (coping) to the specific stress that appears to be inherent in the exercise of medical practice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:1991
Deposited On:24 Oct 2013 09:10
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:04
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0277-9536
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(91)90360-O
PubMed ID:1925690

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