Why Do Lawyers Wrestle with Depression?

Why Do Lawyers Wrestle with Depression?

Lawyers are not immune to feeling the effects of mental health challenges. Depression, anxiety, and other issues plague them in the profession for various reasons. Studies show that lawyers can struggle with mental health issues like depression starting in law school due to pressures to succeed, pass tough exams, and vie for top spots in law firms. Post graduation, lawyers often work long, hard hours and are not always able to find stability in their schedules for family, work, and hobbies. Learn more about why lawyers are more susceptible to depression in their profession than other professionals may be and how to find help.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, focuses on alcohol and substance use disorders that can occur when lawyers drink or use drugs to cope with depression symptoms. Not all lawyers will do this, but sometimes it is the only way they can keep going at work or at home and hold all the balls in the air. At least, this is what addiction can make people think. It may work for a short time, until it stops working and the person crashes out. Law firms often struggle with how to best support lawyers who deal with addiction or dual diagnosis issues because of the stigma involved. It is also hard to replace top-level attorneys on bigger cases while they attend treatment. Lawyers may not seek treatment because they are afraid to be ‘outed’ regarding their addiction, or they may be in denial a problem exists. Perhaps where they work there are others who also drink after work and on the weekends, so the drinking culture supports (and covers) their habit for a time. When job performance suffers, home life starts to disintegrate, and their personal lives are a wreck is usually when lawyers begin to realize the time is now to get help.

Depression on the Job

Fighting depression at work is difficult for lawyers, but they are not alone. Many Americans suffer from depression on a regular basis. Legal careers are challenging and take their toll on people. One of the best ways to fight back against depression is to seek help for symptoms. These may range from:

  • Restless behavior
  • Not feeling worth anything, feelings of helplessness
  • Not as optimistic as they used to be
  • Anxious
  • Fearful
  • Not feeling fulfilled at work (or in life)
  • Lack of energy
  • Persistent lack of sleep not due to work hours
  • Oversleeping
  • Change of eating or hygiene habits that seems out of place

There may be other symptoms like headaches, backaches, or unexplained pains of unknown origin. Stress can play a role in cultivating depressive symptoms, as well. The key is to figure out how to handle stress better, get support for symptoms of depression, and stop drinking, smoking or doing drugs. With the right support of loved ones, this can be possible. It may also take professionals to offer therapy and treatment to help a person rally back from the brink of depression and addiction (where applicable) so they can continue growing in their profession as a lawyer.

The Palmetto Center understands the challenges professionals face, including lawyers, when it involves addiction and recovery. Mental health issues like depression are also challenging but we offer programs and services to support your needs now and in the future. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.