Burnout, depression and alcohol in physicians

Recent studies have analyzed burnout, depression, quality of life, suicidal rates and medical errors and their consequences in physicians and especially in surgeons. About 9.4% of adult Americans meet the definition of substance abuse or dependence with men being twice as likely to be in this group. (Oreskovich: Arch Surg. 2012; 147(2):168-174) The authors surveyed >25,000 members of the American College of Surgeons as part of a comprehensive study of lifestyles and burnout. Of the almost 28% completing the survey, 15.4% fit the definition of substance abuse or dependence. Prevalence was almost twice as high in women (25% versus 14%). Surgeons were more likely to be dependent if they were depressed or burned out. Working for the VA (!), male sex and having children were associated with a lower risk. 
Comment: I knew there was a good reason to have children! Of course we do not know whether the substance abuse caused the depression or vice versa. Also the study primarily concentrates on alcohol abuse and not opioids or other drugs available to some physicians. The message however remains strong. Every hospital or medical center must have strong programs to detect and counsel physicians in order to protect patients