No wonder alcoholism diagnoses are rising

The ‘work hard, play hard’ medical student who burns the candle at both ends, consuming prodigious quantities of alcohol before an early morning anatomy class, has long been a staple of university life.

But a new survey carried out for the British Medical Journal suggests this stereotype is now little more than a myth.

Merely one in ten future doctors currently exceed the Government’s recommended weekly alcohol limit, and a quarter profess themselves to be completely teetotal.

It’s going to get worse too.

25 thoughts on “No wonder alcoholism diagnoses are rising”

  1. “On religious grounds, presumably”

    Beat me to it.

    As for the rest of them: snowflake generation? I wonder what else a survey like that could uncover…

  2. I once had some dealings with a very famous neurosurgeon who was treating a friend of mine with serious head injuries. He told me that he and all of his med school chums had spent most of their degrees off their faces on booze and every kind of drug they could lay their hands on, which I found interesting. An extremely bright guy, it goes without saying. Though not a rocket scientist, of course.

  3. Alcohol is a drug.

    Can be used in moderation for enjoyment but can also be misused and cause serious issues.

    If my doctor told me he never touched alcohol, heroin, cocaine or meth amphetamine i’d be pleased. Saying “go on have just one” is a phrase uttered often about pints of beer but no one would dream of saying the same about syringes of heroin. No father talks with pride of buying his son their first crack pipe.

    Our society has a strange attitude, with a WAR ON DRUGS except alcohol which we are positively encouraged to shove down our throats and it’s considered odd if you don’t.

  4. BTW – Andrew, Julia, PF, John… if PC Ironman of the Internet Police sees those comments you’ll be in trouble, you naughty racists.

  5. AndrewC – the issue with the war on drugs is that it is very expensive, leads to far more death and misery than legal drugs ever would, has created and sustains a vast and very vicious network of international criminals, and doesn’t work.

    Heroin poppies grow like weeds in Afghanistan – the actual cost of growing it and shipping it legally to the UK would be pennies. The illegality makes it worth £50k a kilo, and that money funded the Taliban against the British Army in Afghanistan, and is directly responsible therefore for the deaths of some number of the 400-odd men and women who died out there.

    In my little village in the middle of nowhere I can get any drug I want now – this wasn’t true of the little village I grew up in 30/40 years ago. As the amount spent on the ‘war’ has increased, so the range and availability has increased (and the price has fallen).

    That’s leaving aside the moral argument, which is that it’s no-one else’s business if a given person wants to smoke crack – the crackhead has the same one life as you, and ought to be able to do whatever the fuck he wants without interference.

    If he commits crime on crack, deal with that. If he loses his job because of crack, tough shit, it was his choice. If he can’t bring his kids up because crack (I mean, yeah, right) then take them away and have them adopted into a decent, normal family.

    The oddness is all on the prohibition side.

  6. A mixture of drink and drugs led to two GPs in my local practice killing themselves many years ago (circa 1970). Believe it was a significant problem (pressure of the job) back then. Given access to medical school nowadays is primarily granted to goody two shoes A* students, is it any wonder we’re dictated to by semi-religious health freaks.

  7. Interested nails it.

    As for teetotal doctors–it is hardly credible that “homegrown” RoP have taken over UK medical schools to that extent. If even if the children of the incompetents we imported are all following in the family footsteps.

    Please don’t bother writing to tell about how wonderful your imported medico is. That’s as maybe but I speak from experience of “arrived” physicians that I would visit the local Vet for help before consulting again.

  8. I’m not sure religion is the driving factor in millennial teetotalism.

    Despite me technically being one (I’m still south of 30) the younger millennials apparently do have less sex, drugs and alcohol.

    I think the changes in social dynamics growing up, with its shift to the web and virtual planes might part explain it and also a rebellion against the habits of the older generations.

    I think there is a split between millennials that are 25 + and younger. Online life was only took off as we approached adulthood so we still had the experience of drinking in the park. Those younger we young enough to live online. Hence the change of behaviour and the popularity of batshit ideas formulated on tumblr which are used to witch hunt older members of society who might have been described as ‘loony left’ in the 80s. That’s how mental and strange that half of the millennial generation is.

  9. Saying “go on have just one” is a phrase uttered often about pints of beer but no one would dream of saying the same about syringes of heroin.

    Well, er, yes. There’s a reason for that. It’s the same reason why people say “ooh, I fancy a muffin” and not “go on, have a syringe of heroin”.

    It is perfectly sensible and completely normal to enjoy alcohol socially and any comparison with class A drugs is nonsensical.

  10. That’s how mental and strange that half of the millennial generation is.

    As far as I can tell they are all chasing imaginary characters around town via their phones.

  11. Rob Harries makes some good points. Kids today aren’t drinking two litre bottles of cider on the bench at the bus stop; they’re locked in their bedrooms sending naked selfies to each other.

  12. Interested is correct.

    But we should ask, “How did we get here?”

    What we put in our bodies is none of the federal governments’ business. Intense regulation of drugs by government (FDA and DEA in the U.S.) is unconstitutional.

    I can prove it. In January, 1919, the U.S. ratified the 18th Amendment, banning alcohol in the U.S. Note that government knew that they had no right to ban alcohol, hence, they had to get an amendment to allow them to do so.

    Government bans all sorts of things today, without the decency of getting an amendment to allow them to do so.

  13. @ Andrew M

    “Rob Harries makes some good points. Kids today aren’t drinking two litre bottles of cider on the bench at the bus stop; they’re locked in their bedrooms sending naked selfies to each other.”

    And boy, would I have taken that second option when I was sat on a bench as a teen, drinking white lightning.

    I have a mistrust of blokes who don’t drink, or at the least, do that ‘social drinking’ thing, fart-arsing about with a pint for three hours, having a tiny sip every fifteen minutes or so.

    I am conscious that this makes me old-fashioned, but the ability to drink (and hold that drink) is a social skill- I don’t care whether you like drinking. The occasion demands it.

    It’s selfishness on their part, refusing to do the necessary, discomfiting all around them.

    I think it’s like going to pick up your knighthood in jeans and trainers instead of proper dress ‘because suits are uncomfortable’.

    Man up. Drink, and do so properly.

  14. Rob Harries makes some good points. Kids today aren’t drinking two litre bottles of cider on the bench at the bus stop; they’re locked in their bedrooms sending naked selfies to each other.

    We did that too, but sooner or later you had to go to Boots to get them developed, and then of course post them.

  15. We did that too, but sooner or later you had to go to Boots to get them developed, and then of course post them.

    General rule back in the 80’s was a copy for the vice squad and a copy for the manager with enlargements as necessary.

  16. > I have a mistrust of blokes who don’t drink …

    That’s the Russian way, isn’t it? You’re not sure if you can trust the guy opposite to do business with. So you take him out, paint the town red, and find out what he’s like when he gets drunk and lowers his guard.

    Could one of our resident Russia experts confirm this?

  17. @Andrew M: Yup, been there, done that.

    The thing with the Russians is that they don’t get you just drunk, they get you absolutely paralytic to the point of blackout drunk and if you’re the consultant / contractor they expect you to pick up the tab (which we did)

    This is why my general rule as a contractor is “I don’t work for the Russians”. My health is more important than my contracted day rate.

  18. Certainly used to be true, back in 1990, 1992. There were an awful lot of Western chancers around (Russian too, obviously) and no way to establish bona fides. Couldn’t even use the law as to do anything you had to break that anyway. I ended up doing one deal (for about $400,000) on the basis of a handshake because there just wasn’t anything else. And The Russian had indeed got me horribly drunk, out at the dacha, let me sleep it off, then shook my hand because that’s how the English give their word and performed his part of it. Smuggling some stuff to Rotterdam and then waiting two weeks to see if I paid him.

    I did btw.

  19. Bloke in Costa Rica

    When I was at university the rule of thumb was Mines drank more than Royal College drank more than Guilds (the MechEng guys could drink but the ChemEng lot were a bunch of Babycham-drinking poofters). Then we amalgamated with St Mary’s Paddington. Those medicos were berserk. Total animals. They drank more than anyone else, smoked like chimneys, and had access to serious gear (like diamorphine, speed and barbiturates). Curiously the worst of the bunch were the junior dentists.

  20. @ John Galt
    They get *you* blind drunk: they just get each other sociably drunk because they drink alcohol like water (“vodka” actually *means* “little water”). The only time I voluntarily drank beer was in Russia because it gave me an excuse to drink less vodka: there was this visit to Yakutsk where my Siberian companion and guide drank half a bottle of brandy *while we waited for the plane to takeoff* and the guy we met in a sauna that evening drank a whole bottle of vodka during our talk while partially dehydrated as a result of the sauna – both remained fully coherent….

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