High stress and substance abuse

A university student, training to be a doctor, has been reported to have died after overdosing on heroin, as a result of, the coroner heard, stress.

Paul Robertson was a student doctor at the University of Oxford, helping conduct research into Parkinson’s disease, and was discovered by his girlfriend in the early hours of 18th May.

An inquest into the death ruled that the death was an “unintended outcome” and that the 26 year old was using the drug as a calming effect to help with his anxiety and insomnia as a result of his research. He was said to be known to put himself under high pressure as a result of wanting to achieve highly in his field.

He was known by some to be an occasional user of heroin and he was reported to have at some point sought help regarding it. It is suggested however, that he was turned down for aid because he was not addicted.

A lot of people turn to drugs to deal with anxiety and depression, one of the most stereotypical cases is people who come to rely on drink.

This is not a good stress management technique. Often, drug use will lead to a person’s inability to work, and can have negative impacts on those around them, creating even more negativity and placing them in a downward spiral that can be hard to escape.

It is worrying that a student doctor, can be allowed to fall under the radar with his insomnia and anxiety, and get to such a state where this tragedy occurred. Whether the college should have been more aware and on the lookout for such and how much responsibility they should take is up for debate. Even those with a bright future ahead of them can become over pressured, stressed out, and suffer.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression, or some form of substance abuse as a result, then help is available. NHS courses, as well as mindfulness treatments and retreats can be greatly beneficial and help people to turn their lives around for the better.

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