Alcohol and drug use among Danish physicians. A nationwide cross-sectional study in 2014

Dan Med J. 2015 Sep;62(9):A5132.


Introduction: The aims of this study were to describe Danish physicians' use of alcohol and drugs, their self-reported assessment of their use of alcohol and drugs, and their management of colleagues with substance use disorder in physician workplaces.

Methods: During the spring of 2014, a nationwide cross-sectional study was conducted as an anonymous, electronic survey among a randomly weighted sample of 1) consultants and practicing specialists, 2) younger physicians (trainees) and 3) general practitioners in Denmark. A total of 4,000 physicians (approx. 1,333 from each group) were sampled and 1,943 responded (49%). The survey included the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test on alcohol use and the Drug Use Disorders Identification Test on drug use and related questions on health and psychological issues.

Results: The three groups had an almost equal share of risky alcohol use (comprising hazardous, harmful and dependent use) of 17.2-20.3%. The highest proportion (24%) of risky alcohol use was found for both internal medicine and emergency medicine and the lowest for general practice (16%). Significantly more male physicians (25.1%) than female physicians (14.4%) reported risky alcohol use. Among physicians with risky substance use, 23.1% recognised their risky use.

Conclusion: The proportion of physicians with a risky use of alcohol and drugs was 19% and 3.0%, respectively. Significantly more male than female physicians reported risky alcohol use. Among physicians with a risky substance use, only one in four recognised this as problematic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Emergency Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • General Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician Impairment
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Self Report
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult