A prospective study was carried out among undergraduate medical students of three different medical colleges in North India. The aim of this study was to assess the consumption pattern of alcohol among medical students and correlate psychiatric disturbance and parental alcohol consumption with the patterns of alcohol use in them. Using an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire, we surveyed 168 subjects who were at various stages of their undergraduate medical career. Alcohol was the frequently used substance by all groups; 56.57% ever used alcohol and 41.46% showed patterns of problem drinking. Alcohol dependence was found in 6.09% of the students; 71.95% students started consuming alcohol after admission in the medical college. Almost one-third of respondents (37.50%) were found to be clinically depressed, anxious, or experiencing psychiatric disturbances. Such students had a greater frequency of alcohol consumption (p = 0.05). Also, a strong association between positive family history of alcohol use/abuse and use of alcohol among medical students was found (p = 0.001). Alcohol abuse amongst medical students should be taken more seriously because their own attitudes towards substances may influence their professional behaviour.
Journal of the Indian Medical Association 03/2009; 107(3):151-2, 154-5.