Alcohol use and hazardous drinking among medical specialistsAlcohol use and hazardous drinking among medical specialists
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute (CAPRI)
European addiction research. - Basel
19(2013):2, p. 89-97
University of Antwerp
Background: Alcohol use among medical specialists remains a delicate topic. However, the number of prevalence studies remains very limited in Western European countries. Aims: To explore alcohol use and hazardous drinking among male and female medical specialists. Methods: All medical specialists in Belgium a typical Western European country regarding alcohol use were invited to participate. Alcohol use and abuse were measured using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) and the CAGE screen (acronym based on the four items it contains: Cut down drinking, Annoyed by criticism, Guilty feelings and Eye opener). Results: A sample of 1,501 specialists completed the survey. The composition of the sample was comparable with that of the overall population of specialists in Belgium regarding gender, age and specialties. A proportion of 18% of the specialists could be classified as hazardous drinkers and 16.8% reported binge drinking at least once a month. Female medical specialists drank less than their male counterparts; however, a substantial proportion of female specialists (14.9%) displayed higher risk levels of hazardous drinking. Significant differences were found between specialties on the CAGE screen. Finally, younger medical specialists tended to display healthier alcohol use patterns compared with their older counterparts. Conclusion: Medical specialists tend to indulge in more hazardous drinking compared with the general population (10%). The alcohol use patterns of female doctors tend to move towards those of males.