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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 378738, 7 pages
Research Article

Sedative Drug Use among King Saud University Medical Students: A Cross-Sectional Sampling Study

Department of Community and Family Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 50652, Riyadh 11533, Saudi Arabia

Received 24 July 2013; Accepted 22 October 2013; Published 14 January 2014

Academic Editor: Charles B. Nemeroff

Copyright © 2014 Ahmed A. Al-Sayed et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Medical students experience significant psychological stress and are therefore at higher risk of using sedatives. There are currently no studies describing the prevalence of sedative drug use among medical students in Saudi Arabia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and factors associated with sedative drug use among medical students in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods. A cross-sectional convenience sampling study gathered data by anonymous questionnaire from students enrolled at the King Saud University College of Medicine in 2011. The questionnaires collected data regarding social and demographic variables, sleep patterns, and the use of stimulant and sedative drugs since enrollment. Sedatives were defined as any pharmaceutical preparations that induce sleep. Results and Discussion. Of the 729 students who returned questionnaires, 17.0% reported sedative drug use at some time since enrollment. Higher academic year, lower grade point average, regular exercise, fewer hours of sleep per day, poorer quality of sleep, and the presence of sleeping disorders were found to be significantly associated with sedative drug use. Conclusions. Further study is required to increase our understanding of sedative drug use patterns in this relatively high-risk group, as such understanding will help in the development of early intervention programs.