Lawyers and Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol

Even though men and women in the legal profession are often subjects of jokes by the general public, they are known for their hard work and intelligence in sorting out complex legal issues.

With the high stress levels associated with their careers, lawyers are known to push themselves above and beyond their physical and mental limits.

Similar to other high-stress careers (such as emergency first responders, police officers, doctors, et cetera) lawyers also tend to resort to unhealthy habits to cope with job-related stress and anxieties.

Specifically, addiction to alcohol in combination with depression and anxiety are more common in the legal professionals than in others.

Another factor to consider is that legal professionals also suffer from extremely high levels of mental health issues. It has been reported that 40% of law students suffer from depression just after the first year of law school. This impact is said to continue throughout law school and into their careers.

Considering the frequency and quantities of alcohol consumption, a study by the American Bar Association involved 12,825 licensed and employed lawyers in 19 states around the US.

Results based on the lawyers’ anonymous responses to a questionnaire reveled that as high as 28 percent suffer from depression, and 19 percent exhibit symptoms of anxiety.

Given the nature of how the legal system works, it is a common understanding that lawyers who argue cases in the court find that they have to compromise their ethical and moral values, creating an inner conflict. They may also have to take positions that are contrary to their belief system and defend people they think are guilty.

Addiction in the legal profession is a giant problem that unfortunately had put an end to many promising careers and lives.  

Taking steps to addressing mental health and stress related triggers early on in the law school is an important consideration.

Attaining work-life balance is very hard for people in the legal profession. This is especially true in the case of junior lawyers who typically don’t have control over their schedules and workload.

An indirect factor for the stress is said to be the high levels of debt accumulated during law school. This burden could be a limiting factor when the graduating young lawyers make their career decisions. However, these young professionals need to realize that their well-being is tied to keeping themselves physically and mentally healthy.

Fortunately, several treatment options in a private and confidential environment are available.

Rehab and Addiction Treatment for Legal Professionals

A majority of lawyers and other legal professionals routinely deal with ethical conflicts in addition to unusually high levels of workload in high-pressure, competitive workplaces.

This intense professional environment is attributed to the general impression among the public of a ‘drunk lawyer’. Surveys confirm that the rates of alcohol abuse in the legal profession are among the highest of any career in North America.

Since lawyers are also highly paid professionals, it can be assumed that they get timely treatment for their addiction problems.

However, the biggest barrier to getting addiction treatment is said to be the belief among the lawyers that admitting they had a problem could bring a bad reputation, damage their image in the society and essentially ruin their very career. They may also be afraid of colleagues in their law firm finding out about their problems.

These barriers to seeking the essential timely help calls for treatment options that can maintain a high degree of confidentiality and privacy.

For legal professionals, specialized services have been the most effective in treating addiction. The first step is overcoming the fears and asking for help.

International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of recovered lawyers and judges carrying the message of recovery within the legal profession. Their main role is to act as a bridge between the legal professionals who are reluctant to seek help or in denial and the Alcoholics Anonymous.

Experiences from the 12-step program of the Alcoholics Anonymous demonstrated that lawyers and judges are worried about their anonymity if they attend the program. Even when they get over denying that they have a substance abuse problem, they are still reluctant to be seen publicly by attending the meetings.

If you are a legal professional feeling the overwhelming demands at work, it is advisable that you speak with your supervisor or a trusted mentor.  This is the most effective first step you can take.

Many employers are committed to the physical and mental well-being if their employees and will be ready to help address the concerns. Additionally, a number of other recovery resources are also available – such as paid time off or company-funded addiction treatment.

In parallel, it is important to open up to a family member or friend who will be able to advise you. This will help relieve stress and serve as a support system. To sort out the treatment options, you should schedule a substance abuse evaluation with a counselor.

REASONS WHY LAWYERS GET ADDICTED

On a regular basis, people get addicted, and there are lots of reasons which are responsible for this. However, these reasons are usually specific to an individual or a group of people. For instance, the most likely form of addiction which would plague professionals such as Lawyers and health workers, would be different from the type of addiction which would affect other group of professionals.

When it comes to addiction, Lawyers are not left out, as a good number of them usually face compulsive obsessive disorders which are at rates that are higher than the conventional population, and the rehab services for them is specialized, as the general one cannot suffice.

One of the major reasons why Lawyers get addicted, is due to stress. Now the fact is, these set of people usually go through a lot, having to attend to a good number of cases, some of which are most times very tasking and challenging; enabling them to spend weeks on end trying to solve the mysterious aspects of a case.

In the long run eventually, having faced series of stressful days, one of such ways which they utilize in cooling off, is taking either drugs or alcohol, which is detrimental to their health. The excessive use of drugs and alcohol has an adverse effect on the individual, and it is usually hard for the addict to break free from such addiction.

Now, it would be hard for you to see any Lawyer who would own up to the fact that they are suffering from addiction, and this is because they do not want to taint their image. For instance, a Lawyer could be handling a case of over-speeding because the driver was drunk, and he himself, could be an excessive drinker, without the knowledge of anyone.

It is advised that Lawyers who are addicted, seek prompt help before it gets too late. As earlier mentioned, there are specialized addiction rehab centres for Lawyers alone. These rehabs have professionals who are adept at treating addiction among Lawyers, and ensuring that they get back on track to live their normal lives.

Signs Of Addiction In The Legal Profession

Oftentimes, a wide array of people may be quite knowledgeable in regards to information related to addiction. Yet still, substance abuse is something that is frequently overlooked in various workplaces—by not only the individual, but his/her surrounding peers, and/or co-workers. As a result of such, the stress that legal professionals experience may make it hard for them to feel as though they can open up—and confide in others—about what they are going through.

Sadly, some might even be able to spot addictive behaviors within one of their co-workers, but chose to ignore it for a number of reasons, such as; being unsure of what to do, not wanting to overstep one’s boundary, facing uncertainty on how to get involved, etc. However, it is smart for one to keep an eye out for irregularities—and/or unusual work ethic—within those that surround them. Some signs to look out for are listed as follows; “missed deadlines or appointments, not returning calls; hostile, inappropriate, or odd behavior in professional situations; deterioration in record keeping, managing funds, etc; changes in appearance/grooming/manner of speech; readily tearful or overwhelmed; and/or a colleague actually confides that his/her life (eg., marital, financial) is in shambles.”

In turn, if action isn’t taken, addicts—within the legal field—who begin to face one or more forms of substance abuse, can find their lives taking a turn for the worst. That’s why it is so important for one to find help early on so that he/she can receive the treatment he/she needs—with the assistance of a medical professional. Not only that, but a medical professional will know how to aid in the best recovery for legal executives—since he/she holds experience with such. But unfortunately, it may pose as difficult at times for one to be able to recognize if another is facing addiction because certain people are easily able to pass as functioning—and/or functional—users.

In conclusion, no matter what one’s career is—and/or what he/she specializes in—he/she still deserves the right to treatment/rehabilitation for his/her addiction. For, it is through such that he/she can begin to handle what he/she is going through—mentally/emotionally—in a much healthier way. A speedy recovery can then draw itself closer to that individual, and help him/her to handle what he/she is going through a whole lot differently—for oftentimes addiction isn’t noticed by the individual himself/herself, but from those on the outside looking in.

Employment Following Legal Executive Addiction Treatment

Legal professionals who struggle with addiction—along with other high risk professions—may feel as though there is no hope for them. Reasons for such can stem from the stress of their career, personal life—and so on—but despite such they might still find themselves not wanting to leave. However, even though individuals may not want to forfeit their jobs, after they have received both necessary and needed treatment, there is the opportunity for employment following such.

First, recovery can benefit those facing drug or alcohol abuse by allowing them to continue in their employment—after completion. It is through such that legal professionals are better able to maintain focus on the cases at hand, as well as other tasks. Yet still, for one to get to this point he/she must be able to be honest with not only himself/herself, but his/her boss—as well as others he/she might feel comfortable confiding in. In fact, it is okay for one to take some time away from his/her work environment to rediscover himself/herself—while in the midst of further understanding his/her addiction. This also gives that individual the opportunity to learn what might be the source of his/her abuse—whether it be stress from his/her legal surroundings, something else, or a combination of both.

In addition, several laws have been put into effect to help addicts to re-enter the workforce, or to ensure that they don’t lose their jobs while attending rehab. Some of these laws are listed as follows; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), etc. Yet still, grave consequences can still follow legal executives depending on whether or not they take action to ensure a healthy well being—or whether or not they let reputation triumph over recovery.

In conclusion, individuals who have trouble with substance abuse have the ability to keep their jobs—and even obtain better—after they have finished treatment. However, if one refuses to undergo rehab, then that can pose as a big problem, because they can continue to lose focus in their workplace—and may even refrain from doing work all together. Therefore, it is best for one to seek help while he/she can because when he/she gets back there will be a job there for him/her—whether it be where he/she used to be, or elsewhere. But, if he/she chooses not to, there won’t always be an addiction free life.

PTSD, Substance Abuse, & Law

First and foremost, PTSD (also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is defined as, “a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock.” As a result of such, one who struggles with this condition may struggle to sleep, and even replay/recall the experience in particular. Unfortunately, what goes unnoticed by many is how common this disorder is in the legal field. For, what happens beneath the briefcase and the clean cut suit is a whole lot more than what meets the eye.

In turn, PTSD is a big factor linked to substance abuse—which can lay its foundation as early as law school. For, the stress that comes through long hours of studying—and/or restless nights—while preparing for exams can begin to take a toll on one’s mental health. Not only that, but since the legal profession is very competitive this can pose as barren ground for addiction to take root. The reason centers around the fact that such a system plots a wide range of peers against each other, forcing them into isolation as they try and gain the upper hand.

Consequently, feelings of melancholy can begin to settle in the place of one who was once happy, as his/her school work—and/or future career—begin to take over his/her life in great excess. Not only that, but the unfortunate symptoms that come through PTSD—such as restless sleep—can also cause individuals to begin using, whether it be through alcohol or drugs. They may try and find relief—and/or a way to sleep—but in the midst of such impact their well being in an unhealthy way. For, what starts out as a simple way to sleep—and/or maybe even a way to stay up longer and cope with anxiety—can grow into that of a full fledged addiction.

In conclusion, PTSD and substance abuse closely correlate in the legal profession—more than one might think. As a result of such, it’s important that aspiring lawyers—and/or ones who are already established—who are struggling with addiction get help early. In doing so, they might find better ways to cope/handle the high demand that comes through work, school, or both—and be better equipped for such. It is then that they can find an outlet—and/or quicker road to recovery. For, those who are in high demand professions don’t have to go through it alone, and are brave to seek help/treatment—in the midst of a profession that’s highly reputable.

The Mental Health Of Legal Professionals In Relation To Clients

When one thinks of mental health issues he/she might first begin by looking at the individual himself/herself who is struggling with such. However, oftentimes in doing so, he/she fails to recognize the contributing outside sources—which play a big part, especially in the legal field. For, the stress that lawyers are faced with—through clients—can be a key factor in that of their addiction.

First and foremost, those in the legal profession may find themselves already dealing with tight knit deadlines, and when problems arise with clients this can make it difficult for them to keep on track. In turn, these intense client demands can cause everything to be pushed back—and/or pushed around—in that law firm, and cause unneeded stress for lawyers.

Unplanned circumstances such as this can be unnerving for anyone—no matter whether they work in the legal field or not. Such situations can cause even more frustration if they are not of extreme urgency, because they still must be done—and/or completed—for client satisfaction. As a result, it is as though such takes precedence over what was being worked on prior.

Second is the routine that comes through the particular type of work a lawyer engages in. For oftentimes, after years of working in the same law firm—or with certain cases—it can begin to grow old, especially with little to no promotion. It is through such that lawyers may grow depressed, feeling as though their work—as well as themselves—don’t amount too much.

They may find themselves disheartened by the point that they are at within their lives—almost as though they’re at a stand still. It as though they can’t be at the peak of their legal career any longer, but they also can’t move forward due to their existing experience—so they are therefore stuck in limbo. As a result, addiction can ground itself—in the midst of their mental health being breached.

In conclusion, the routine of particular client case work, as well as intense client demands can cause deterred mental health in that of lawyers. For, they can begin to feel overwhelmed—and various hardships such as; anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc. can present themselves. As a result, lawyers may find themselves struggling to cope and using alcohol or drugs as a scapegoat.

Therefore, it is best for those who are struggling with addiction—in relation to mental health issues that stem from work—to get the help they need when they begin to feel unlike themselves. For, there’s no such thing as getting help too early; it’s always better now than later.

Pressures In The Legal Field

First and foremost, there are a number of pressures that those in legal professions experience and endure on a daily basis, which can contribute to their use of drugs, alcohol, or both. For, oftentimes, they spend a majority of their career—hours on end—studying case work. As a result of such, this not only causes frequent exhaustion, but contributes to an overworked mind and body.

In turn, this can cause them to look for alternative ways—and/or methods—to cope. But, unfortunately, the pressure may cause them to avert their attention in the direction of drugs to keep them awake, or to keep them relaxed. Therefore, when the stress begins to overwhelm them, and they find themselves unable to focus, or stay awake, they can consume stimulants ranging from adderall to cocaine, etc.

However, the downfall of such is that through even one time of use, the feeling(s) that they experience as a result of such, can cause frequent use to take place—eventually leading to addiction. The brain then begins to grow accustomed to that which is taking place within the individual’s body every time that they consume the drug/alcohol—and the pressures that they experience within their workplace are oftentimes a big factor of such.

Yet, even then, most individuals who do abuse are still able to continue on with their day-to-day tasks because they are highly functioning. In turn, this can pose as a cause for concern because some might not even realize the extent of their addiction. Furthermore, addiction isn’t always something noticeable, but can be hidden just as easily, especially by those who are of a particular

 legal profession. For, they may be afraid to ask for help, due to thoughts of what it may do to their image or reputation, and look just as normal as a healthy person would—but what lies underneath could be more than meets the eye.

In conclusion, a great number of lawyers struggle with addiction on a daily basis due to the extensive amount of stress that they may experience in the midst of their case work, clientele, and their image/reputation. As a result of such, they may find themselves using so that they may stay focused on their work, or may be doing so in response to the stress and anxiety that they are experiencing. Therefore, it is important that no matter his/her profession, an individual who is struggling with addiction is better of getting help soon, rather than not at all.