Attorneys and Lawyers Struggling with Addiction

attorney lawyer addictionThere are a number of professions that contain higher than average statistics for cases of addiction. When forced to guess, people often think that medical professionals and wealthy CEO’s are some of the most likely to struggle with addiction, but many people are not aware that attorneys and lawyers are prone to addiction problems. The reason for this is the high stress, high pressure nature of the profession, and the overwhelming expectations that are placed on attorneys. The fast paced, demanding professional life of an attorney is not suitable for everyone. Many commit to it without understanding their own limitations and crack under the pressure as a result. It is not uncommon for attorneys to experiment with drugs, alcohol or other addictive substances and behaviors.

Sex, drugs and alcohol are among the most common addictions that attorneys struggle with. These are addictions commonly found within fast paced professions. They create strong highs and total distraction from other areas of life, such as a stressful profession. When attorneys become addicted to drugs, they are commonly addicted to strong street drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, or strong prescription medications such as Oxycontin. They dabble in abusing these substances as a means of self medication and become hooked. Likewise, an attorney who is an alcoholic is commonly addicted to hard alcohol for the strength of its affects. And an attorney who is addicted to sex often has an insatiable appetite for sex.

Being addicted and trying to remain professionally successful does not work well for most attorneys. Addiction is known to catch up with a person and ruin them, even if this occurs slowly and gradually. Often it is coworkers and professional peers who notice the addiction problems first because they are around the individual a great deal. Being addicted can quickly hurt an attorney’s professional reputation by damaging their credibility and dependability. Being addicted will also negatively impact an attorney’s personal and family life, as well as their health. An addicted attorney needs professional intervention and rehabilitation in order to regain their mental health and their life.

The Pressure on Attorneys

attorney pressureAttorneys are called to their profession for noble reasons. They have a passion and a drive for knowing the law inside and out to blow the whistle on those who would try to manipulate it. Being an attorney can be a very rewarding profession when cases are won and notoriety is gained. But there are other days in the professional life of an attorney that prove to be stressful, unpleasant and hard to cope with. Every attorney experiences the loss of a case at some point and must taste the grit of defeat. Expectations on attorneys are extremely high, and the amounting pressure can prove too much for some to bare.

Many clients of attorneys go into court with unrealistic expectations of what an attorney can do. Some who are guilty think that, because they have paid a substantial fee, they are guaranteed a win in their case, which is obviously irrational. Others make their attorney’s jobs harder by not taking their case seriously. They withhold information or veer off the agreed upon plan in court then become upset at their attorney when their own bad decisions hurt their case. These are challenges that an attorney cannot foresee, which makes their jobs more difficult. There are also frequently more senior attorneys observing the success rate of those below them, which creates additional pressure.

The combination of these difficulties can make the pressure on attorneys unbearable, which often results in them acting out. Many attorneys turn to drugs and alcohol to self medicate their stress symptoms, while others rely on some other form of escapism. It is only a minority of professional attorneys who cope with stress in a healthy way. Attorneys and lawyers have a higher than average suicide rate for any given profession, and the need to focus on mental health within this group of professionals has recently become a necessary conversation to have. If you or someone you care about is an attorney who is unable to cope with professional stress, consider the services of a counselor, rehab or support group today.