Research Article

Characteristics and prognosis of alcoholic doctors.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.6051.1537 (Published 25 December 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:1537
  1. R M Murray

    Abstract

    Five medically qualified women and 36 men who were being treated for alcoholism at a London postgraduate hospital were studied. Most were middle-aged and at an advanced stage of alcoholism. They had usually started drinking heavily in the wake of well-established drug dependence or other psychiatric disorder; as students or housemen; and in the armed forces. Thirty-six doctors were followed up for a mean of 63 months. Five doctors either killed themselves or died of cirrhosis, and nine persisted in almost continuous dependent drinking, while seven completely overcame their alcohol problem and 10 had only occasional relapses. Their prealcoholic careers had ranged from repeated failure to spectacular success, but of 29 doctors alive at follow-up only eight were practising satisfactorily.