Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1976 Fall;6(3):169-78.

Suicide and drug abuse in the medical community.


In the United States each year the equivalent of an average-size medical school graduating class commits suicide, with the highest incidence occurring in the decade following the completion of training. Of these suicides, 20% to 30% are associated with drug abuse and 40% with alcoholism. Various problem areas are considered. Role strain, leading to excessive drug use in an attempt to increase work efficiency, is coupled with a denial of the physician's own dependency needs and gratification. The problem of identity occurs in relation to the exaggerated sense of duty and obligation the physician feels in attending to the demands of the patients and their families. Medicine as magical thinking is also discussed, revealing the physician's belief in his own immunity, which is strenuously tested when he actually sets up in practice. The community's high regard for the physician further complicates the situation. Too little has been done about working with emotional problems of medical students during their training and after they begin to practice. Unfortunately, physicians feel uncomfortable in turning to colleagues for help; rather, they tend to isolate themselves, resorting to alcohol and drugs. One should question the selection of medical students and their overall training, not only in terms of academic learning but also with more consideration for the stresses and strains of the future career.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center