Well Being

Surgeons Are Stressed Just Like Us; 1 In 6 Have A Drinking Problem

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In case you need another reason to be skeptical of your doctor, a new study has found that one in six surgeons have a drinking problem.  It's a scary statistic for sure that is getting our attention and making us wonder: Just who can we trust when it comes to our health? This seems like yet another case of arrogant doctors who now think they can abuse alcohol and still save our lives.

According to the study which was published in this week's Archives of Surgery, researchers analyzed 7,000 surgeons about their work, lifestyle and moods. Specifically, they zeroed in on their use of alcohol.

And what did they find?

A shockingly high number of them admitted to having a drinking problem–roughly 15% or one out of every six, in fact. Of those, 14% were men and 26% were women.

According to the study authors, not only is this alcohol abuse rate higher than that of the general population, but it's a “significant problem [with] the potential to impair a surgeon's ability to practice with skill and safety.”

We agree. And, even though the majority of respondents didn't admit to a drinking problem, numbers like this only make us skeptical of any doctor.

Although one of the study authors, Dr. Michael Oreskovich, says we shouldn't worry:

It should be said that a number of studies have shown that direct patient harm associated with impairment due to chemical dependency is very, very rare.

Somehow that doesn't make us feel a whole lot better.

True, this has to be a very stressful job, but a lot of us have stressful jobs and stressful lives. Case in point, another recent study just showed us that 10% of all kids live with at least one alcoholic parent, proving that drinking problems cross all social and economic barriers.

I'm not condemning surgeons or making it sound like they should be on some kind of pedestal because of what they do, but how many times have you encountered a doctor who acts that way? I, for one, have dealt with a fair share of doctors and surgeons who have been arrogant and who don't listen, to say the least. Studies like this prove that they are human too. And, like the rest of us, we all need balance and stress-relief in our lives.

So, maybe these surgeons and doctors should be humbled by the fact that they are human too. And, like many people out there, they have weaknesses. As patients, we just need to be aware of that and remain true to our best health advocate–ourselves and our instincts.

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