An American Bar Association study from 2016 showed that 20.6 percent of lawyers reported problems with drinking. Other research from the Canadian Bar Association estimates that alcohol addiction rates among lawyers range between 15 and 24 percent.
Prescription drugs and illicit drugs are also a problem for many lawyers. They utilize substances like cocaine, OxyContin, and Valium to achieve a competitive edge, prevent stress, or cope with mental health disorders.
Many lawyers who suffer from substance use disorders sacrifice their health to accomplish their work goals. In addition, family and social relationships may be affected.
Lawyers tend to be good at dominating conversations, meetings, and relationships. The skill they have at diverting attention away from themselves makes it more challenging to convince them to obtain treatment for their substance use disorder.
If you are an attorney who is struggling with a substance use disorder, there are ways to recover from this disease and save your career. Professionals in high-demand professions are catered to by many rehab treatment facilities that offer specialized programs.
To reduce substance abuse, attorneys and law firms need to take reasonable steps. Taking proactive steps to address addiction can prevent lawyers from developing addiction problems in the future. A few of these steps are:
Attorneys are vulnerable to mental health disorders due to stress, a common element in substance abuse. The stress level of attorneys can be reduced significantly by properly training them on how to manage their time and clients. Counseling and peer support can be helpful for attorneys suffering from severe stress. Working fewer hours can reduce stress as well.
Policy and Attitude Changes towards Drinking in the Workplace
Lawyers are often surrounded by an environment that encourages substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse. Young lawyers are most at risk of developing alcohol dependence, according to a study by the American Bar Association in 2016. The study reported that 31.9% of lawyers 30 or younger took part in problematic drinking.
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease study’s authors suggest law firms can address this issue by implementing formal policies for handling substance abuse in the workplace. Researchers found that preventing permissive attitudes towards substance abuse at work can be effectively prevented through team-based interventions.