Hazardous Alcohol Use among Doctors in a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital
Background: There has been conflicting reports of the level of hazardous alcohol use among doctors despite the significant occurrences in the general population. Hence, the need to study the drinking habits of doctors, being supposedly role models in terms of behavior and lifestyle.
Methods: All the consenting doctors in the employ of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria completed questionnaires detailing the socio-demographic (e.g., age, gender, marital status, professional qualifications), workrelated (e.g., leisure, workload, job satisfaction), and clinical (e.g., prior treatment) variables. The participants also completed the 10-items Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12).
Results: Of the 241 participants, ‘lifetime abstainers’ constituted 173 (71.8%) while ‘lifetime (ever) alcohol use’ was 68 (28.2%), ‘past (time specified abstainers) alcohol use’ was 29 (12.0%), and ‘current users’ were 39 (16.2%). Ten (4.1%) participants were ‘hazardous users’ while 29 (12.0%) were ‘moderate users’. Of the ‘hazardous users’, 3 (30.0%) were interns, 5 (50.0%) were residents while 2 (20.0%) were consultants. They were found in five departments: Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 4 (40.0%); Laboratory Medicine, 3 (30.0%); and 1 (10.0%) each in Pediatrics, Surgery, and Internal Medicine. Heavy workload was significantly related to being a ‘hazardous drinker’ (X2 = 5.92, p= 0.015) while ‘abstinence’ within the previous 6 months was related to GHQ-12 caseness (i.e., morbidity) (X2=11.78, p= 0.0006).
Conclusion: There was a detectable level of hazardous drinking especially amongst the junior doctors. Efforts should be focused on younger doctors and their workload.
Keywords: Hazardous, Alcohol, Doctors, AUDIT.