Drug and Alcohol Abuse Resources for Lawyers
If you weren’t already aware, lawyers are one of the top paid professions in the U.S. The average lawyers is earning over $100,000 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics many of those uneducated in addiction associate drugs and alcohol use with lower class individuals, thinking that lawyers would not have this problem since they live in “luxury”, however- we know this to be untrue. While in the general population, about one in ten people struggle with drug or/and alcohol addiction, for lawyers those statistics almost double. In fact, the percent of those in legal professions who are addicted is higher (18 percent), according to the 2006 study from the Oregon State Bar The most common forms of addiction in law professionals are drugs and alcohol. There are also many other psychological factors that add to the disease. Since drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, recovery is possible. The first step is admitting there is a problem, once that is done- the recovery process can start.
Behind Lawyers and Drug/Alcohol Abuse
Comparable to many other high-paying vocations, becoming a lawyer is not a fast and easy process. Becoming a lawyer takes time, year of college to be exact. Countless hours of study, dedication and passion are all qualities that go into becoming a lawyer. Compared to most high paying careers, this is not fast nor easy. A lawyer should be use to stress by the time they are able to pass the Bar Exam, but the stress does not stop there. Once hitting working society stressful cases occur, difficult clients are common, and the days are never short. The above aspects alone are enough to lead to mental health problems and many lawyers seek prescription medications to cope on a day to day basis. It is not difficult to see why they would turn to prescription drugs or alcohol for relief. Whenever an individual dapples in drug or alcohol abuse or use, addiction is always a possibility.
For lawyers even before passing the Bar Exam, many show signs of anxiety and depression (even paranoia and hostility) within the first six months of entering into law school. After the first year the number increases to 40% according to AmericanBar.org Lawyers and those in school to practice law are said to be three times more likely to develop other mental health disorders than the general public.
Alcoholism and Lawyers
It makes sense that alcohol would be one of the top abused substances by those in the law profession. It is legal, easy to purchase, and not too expensive. The easy accessibility and desirable effects make it the perfect “drug” to get through a long day. According to the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, more than 33% of lawyers are problematic drinkers! Think of a lawyer who already struggles with a mental health disorder, adding alcohol to that mix could be an awful combination that leads to losing everything. In fact, 40-70% of disciplinary proceedings and malpractice cases are a direct result of alcohol. Stress in school, at work, or hard trials alcohol can be an easy way to forget about it for the evening, when this becomes a habit- addiction is formed. When the drinking spirals out of control and turns into an addiction, the original reason for drinking becomes less important because now the problem is life-threatening. Regardless of the reason, many lawyers’ drinking can spiral out of control and into addiction. Lawyers are among one of the higher rates of alcoholism than other professionals, including doctors. Over two out of ten lawyers are categorized as problematic drinkers.
While the numbers can be shocking to some, there is hope because that means not one lawyer is alone. Alcoholism in lawyers is a real thing! The first step in recovering from addiction is admitting there is in fact, a problem.
Why Don’t Lawyers Seek Addiction Help?
There are many reasons for law students or lawyers being hesitant to seek help for alcohol or drug addiction.
Denial: This is a main cause of many not seeking the proper treatment help needed to recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Many see addiction as a weakness causing many to deny any problems. Denial is a huge reason why some people take more time to get help and why an intervention may be needed to break the grips of addiction.
Confidentiality concerns: This is a common thought from especially lawyers, confidentiality. No one wants to have other people know their personal business, and when it can hurt a professionals reputation (because of stigma) most will avoid treatment or seeking help. Many practicing law are worried they will be fired, or seen as a failure. This is totally understandable, but all calls/questions/concerns to The Beaches are 100% confidential. All therapy and treatment received is also 100% confidential. We have a very strict and stand up policy for the privacy of all of our clients.
Shame: As most individuals experience, there is a certain amount of shame that comes with alcoholism or drug addiction. There is no need for embarrassment. At The Beaches Treatment Center, we take the time to meet everyone right where they are in the journey towards their recovery. The actions they have done in the past to be ashamed about- we work through so that after treatment they can return the best version of themselves.
Fear: There are many fears that addiction bring. Rejection, dealing with the fear of the actual withdrawal, or leaving behind the life they knew in their addiction. Fear is easy to overcome, our Master’s Level Therapists at The Beaches Treatment Center focus on each client’s fears and getting them to a level where facing fears is not scary anymore. Thousands of lawyers have already recovered from drug and alcohol abuse, recovery works and heals the suffering.
If you or someone you know is a lawyer struggling, you already have what it takes to overcome addiction. You have already proved you’re strong enough to knock the addiction down and get the help you need. Regardless of what roadblocks you’ve created, recovery is possible.
Helpful Addiction Resources for Lawyers
There are many resources available to help lawyers struggling with drug abuse and alcoholism or any other substance use disorder, treatment is a call away.
Treatment for Addiction, The Beaches Treatment Center. We believe in order to heal properly the mind, body and spirit must be cared for and treated equally in a customized plan for each individual. We believe in healing the whole person and properly integrating them back into society. They will leave the addiction treatment care happy, healthy, and sober; returning to life successfully rid of the drug and alcohol abuse, taking the right track to full recovery.
There are a number of Lawyer Assistance Programs nationwide that provide addiction treatment assistance to all of those associated with the field of law, includes: judges, law students, lawyers and more.