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Individuals that work in the legal profession are some of the most motivated, high-achieving professionals in society today. They are also a population that statistically tends to see a higher than average incidence of substance addiction. The American Bar Association estimates that as many as 18 to 20 percent of lawyers are struggling with abuse and dependency on drugs or alcohol, compared with eight to 10 percent within the general population.

Whether it is the personality traits, desire to succeed, pressures of the industry or the competitive nature of law, many factors could play into these numbers. When addiction does develop, many in this line of work are hesitant to seek help due to the stigma and potential consequences they might face. Fortunately, there is help available for attorneys and judges that find themselves struggling with addiction even while they are maintaining their high-profile, high-pressure positions. The Center for Professional Recovery offers help to licensed professionals, including those in the legal profession so that they can overcome their addictions in a safe and confidential environment designed for their specific needs.

Reasons Behind the Problem

Why are lawyers and judges more susceptible to addiction? The reasons may be many:

  • Long work hours that lead to isolation and lack of balance
  • Competition within the workplace that creates constant stress and anxiety
  • Accountability, not only to senior partners but a multitude of patients
  • Natural tendency toward high achievement and perfectionism places additional pressure
  • Higher than average percentage of mental illness within the industry
  • Hesitancy to seek help may lead to more advanced stages of the condition

Treatment that is left unchecked for an extended period can be more challenging to treat and can lead to more severe complications. While that first step toward treatment can be the most difficult, it is also the first step to long-term sobriety and the ability to restore your professional standing. The Center for Professional Recovery will help you construct a treatment plan that meets you where you are at, increasing your odds for a safe and successful recovery.

Addiction and Depression

A 2016 report from the American Bar Association found that in addition to the high number of lawyers abusing substances, around 28 percent also suffered from depression and 19 percent struggled with anxiety. People with these disorders tend to have a higher incidence of substance abuse as well – often because they are trying to mask the symptoms of their illness. When addiction and mental illness exist in tandem, it is called a co-occurring disorder and requires attention to both conditions for treatment to be successful.

Types of Substances Abused

Research shows that the most common substance abused by attorneys and others in the legal profession is alcohol. Results of the same report by the American Bar Association indicate 20.6 percent of attorneys admit to problem drinking. Of the lawyers that responded to the survey in this report, around three-fourths failed to answer the questions about drug use, making it more difficult to estimate the prevalence of drug abuse.

Of the attorneys that did respond, researchers found:

  • Nearly 16 percent said they used sedatives for nonmedical reasons
  • Around 10.2 percent said they had used marijuana
  • Approximately 5.6 percent admitted to using stimulants including cocaine
  • Another 5.6 percent stated they had used opioids
  • Around 20 percent of the lawyers surveyed said they had “intermediate” concerns about their substance abuse, while three percent had “severe” concerns.

Help Targeted to Lawyers

Research suggests that addiction treatment for professionals in the legal profession is more successful when individuals are surrounded by their peers and participate in therapies designed for their needs. The Center for Professional Recovery understands the importance of tailoring treatment to this demographic and does just that for those in the legal industry as well as healthcare, aviation, and business professions. We will guide you in managing the unique pressures of your job while maintaining long-term sobriety and a healthy recovery path. To learn more about our programs, contact the Center for Professional Recovery today at 866.298.0056.

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