Survey Suggests Medical Students May be at Risk for Alcohol Abuse

A new survey finds medical students have double the rate of alcohol abuse or dependence, compared with surgeons, U.S. physicians or the general public, HealthDay reports. The researchers cite burnout and school debts as possible factors.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic contacted 12,500 medical students. Of the one-third who responded, approximately 1,400 said they experienced clinical alcohol abuse or dependence. That translates to about one-third of respondents, compared with 16 percent of peers who are not medical school students.

The findings appear in the journal Academic Medicine.

“Our findings clearly show there is reason for concern,” study senior author Dr. Liselotte Dyrbye said in a news release. “We recommend institutions pursue a multifaceted solution to address related issues with burnout, the cost of medical education and alcohol abuse.”

Full story of medical students and alcohol abuse at drugfree.org

All Adults Should be Screened for Depression, Panel Advises

All adults should be screened for depression, according to a panel appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services. If initial screening tests indicate an increased risk of depression, health care providers are advised to conduct assessments to look for substance abuse or other medical conditions.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advised that women be screened for depression during pregnancy and after childbirth, according to The Washington Post.

The task force wrote in JAMA that major depressive disorder is associated with suicide, and impacts the ability to manage other health problems. “Depression has a major effect on quality of life for the patient and affects family members, especially children,” the group wrote.

Full story of adults and screening for depression at drugfree.org

Depression in dementia more common in community care, study finds

A University of Manchester study of over 400 people in eight EU countries with severe dementia has found that those residing in long-term care homes are less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms than those living in the community.

Researchers studied 414 people with severe dementia along with their carers in England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The study gathered information on quality of life, activities of daily living such as bathing, feeding and dressing and presence of depressive symptoms using standardised measures.

In the groups studied, 37% of the 217 people living in the community showed signs of depression compared to 23% of the 197 in care homes. It is one of the few studies comparing similar groups of people living at home and in nursing homes.

Full story of depression in dementia at Science Daily

Psychologist links burnout, depression

Research by City College of New York psychology Professor Irvin Schonfeld in the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership suggests a strong connection between burnout and depression.

In a study of more than 5,500 school teachers to estimate the prevalence of depressive disorders in workers with burnout, 90% of the subjects identified as burned out met diagnostic criteria for depression.

The study also examined the overlap of burnout with the atypical subtype of depression. Features of atypical depression were observed in 63% of the burned-out participants with major depression.

Full story of link between burnout and depression at Science Daily

Almost 8 Percent of Americans are Moderately to Severely Depressed

An estimated 7.6 percent of Americans ages 12 and up are moderately to severely depressed, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those with severe symptoms, only 35 percent reported having contact with a mental health professional in the past year.

“Not enough people are getting appropriate treatment for depression,” lead author Laura Pratt, with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told HealthDay. “People with severe depression should be getting psychotherapy. Some might need complicated medication regimens, which psychiatrists are better equipped to do, which makes it even more concerning that only 35 percent of people with severe depression have seen a mental health professional.”

Full story of Americans and depression at drugfree.org