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Why Drug and Substance Use is Higher for Lawyers Than Other Professions

Why Drug and Substance Use is Higher for Lawyers Than Other Professions

Workplace substance abuse is an issue that needs serious consideration. Many people who are employed as lawyers and professionals experience loss of productivity from drug and alcohol abuse. Lawyers are twice as likely to struggle with alcohol abuse than the general population. Find out why this happens and how to support someone struggling with addiction in the legal profession.

Lawyers and Addiction

Lawyers are facing heavy workloads and conflicts within their personal value systems on a daily basis. Perhaps it is defending a client they know is guilty of something but their job is to defend them in court. It may require working with big name clients in a firm as part of a settlement, trying to negotiate at a high stakes level. There are so many challenges that face lawyers, they sometimes turn towards substances to cope with the pressure and tension. Some of the tension comes from:

  • Working in a less than noble profession. So often, they are seen as not working for a noble cause, but only to make tons of money. Some do public service law and do not make big money. If they work in a big firm, the pressure at work can become overwhelming. Lawyers are unique in that they are not only required to work long hours to satisfy existing clients, they also generate new business and find the workload to get up the corporate ladder, make partner, or just stay afloat in a firm, to be a huge stressor. Socializing and family life often take a backseat to work.
  • Mental health issues are more prominent in the legal profession. It starts in law school, with students demonstrating signs of depression, anxiety, hostility, and paranoia. Law school can be no different than their careers in this regard. Practicing lawyers find they have to compromise ethical principles or moral values, which quickly becomes a conflict. The use of medication or substances to mitigate feelings of depression, anxiety, or other mental issues can increase as a result of co-occurring mental health challenges.

How Lawyers Cope

There are many ways in which lawyers can learn to cope with work stressors and addiction challenges. Work-life balance is key, but easier said than done. Debt piles up following law school so lawyers often focus on paying down debt and saving money up for a house, car, etc and often forget their own health in the process. Drinking culture in professions like law can be more pervasive as it is a way of entertaining clients and engaging with co-workers to go out for a drink. Some better ways of coping might be:

  • Finding a qualified therapist to speak with about the feelings of overwhelm and any mental health issues
  • Talking to the boss or a mentor who can help determine if the workload is sustainable
  • Speaking with family and friends about issues that arise
  • Incorporating mindfulness practices, exercise, and healthy lifestyle habits into daily life
  • Seeking professional help from a rehab facility or other type of place for addiction and substance abuse issues

When a lawyer seeks help for addiction, it helps everyone. The team of people they work with, the company, and everyone they encounter can become stronger as a result of dealing with any mental health and addiction issues. A rehab center that focuses on detox as a high standard of care can support lawyers in transitioning through the difficult withdrawal symptoms addiction rehab brings and also cope with underlying mental health issues. A supportive, compassionate environment which is also able to maintain privacy is key for people in the legal profession. An effective detoxification process can help remove barriers to recovery, provide medical monitoring in a safe environment, and support long-term sobriety. It is challenging, but worth considering to save not only a person’s life, but also their career and reputation.

Serenity Detox provides a safe, confidential environment for people who are seeking to detox from drugs or alcohol. Even if symptoms are mild, others may be painful, or even dangerous. Medical supervision at Serenity provides comfortable surroundings in a safe environment. The real recovery post detox can then begin the journey of healing. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number to find out how we can help: 866-294-9401