Colleges and Universities are institutions founded on the principles of instilling young adults with knowledge and guidance to better their futures. It is commonly known that the medical profession has one of the most difficult programs of study. The medical field is always evolving and no one case is exactly like the other. Medical students are put through an tremendously arduous set of courses and field work to prepare them for the lives as physicians. As such, this program can be incredibly special. There are a limited number of prestigious positions to which thousands of students are applying. The combination of hard classes, difficult work hours, long fieldwork and expenses is rather difficult, which is why there are only a finite number of students capable of handling. These students need a way to decompress or relieve the stress of their studies. Unfortunately, not all these students choose healthy alternatives for coping with that stress. This is especially dangerous because, as members of the soon to be medical field, they have unlimited access to a wide variety of drugs. In addition to access, these individuals may falsely believe to understand the dangers of these drugs and take them in hazardous manners. Recent studies have shown that students in Indiana are turning to substance abuse to help cope with the pressures of medical school.

Main Problems for Medical Students

The two main problems for medical students today are exhaustion and financial stress. The additional years of education for those going into the medical field are extremely long and daunting. This causes them to have incredibly amounts of anxiety, depressions and stress. When this stress is coupled with exhaustion these students will turn to whatever they can to relieve that stress. The mayo clinic has conducted a study regarding a demographic of these medical students and found that a third of them reported cases that were conducive to alcohol or substance abuse. The rest of the nation reports a substance abuse level nearing sixteen percent, which means that medical students have twice the risk of normal students at developing an addiction issue. As anticipated, students who were physically, mentally and/or emotionally drained are at a much greater risk for substance abuse. The study also found that the rate of abuse is also contingent on whether the student is over $50,000 in debt or unmarried. These individuals have an even higher rate for substance abuse and addiction. The study found that students who were ‘burnout’ were more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs. ‘Burnout’ is defined by various authors to be the level of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment. Students with higher levels of the first two are more likely to flirt with suicidal thoughts. Those students with higher levels of the third, personal accomplishment, are less likely to use and abuse alcohol and drugs.

The Source of the Problem

The source of this problem is the immense cost of college and medical school. The idea of student loan debt is something that our society has reluctantly accepted. It is thought that those who do not work hard enough, either at school or in the scholarship searching field, are forced into the system of being shackled by student loans that they will never be able to pay off. This could not be any more true for those students working towards a position in the medical field. Most med-students graduate with at least $180,000 in debt. The prospect of social and financial gain of the medical profession does little to prevent substance abuse. Until the education system evolves into a system that benefits students, their future and society this problem will continue to grow.

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