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Gambling addiction among attorneys

The thought that you had a problem may have crossed your mind before, and you dismissed it because you knew your luck would change. Sometimes your luck did change, and things got better. However, now it seems as if nothing is going your way and no amount of money is enough to satisfy the urge to gamble. You may even be having dark thoughts, and your law practice is starting to suffer.

If your gambling addiction has caused trouble in your law firm, you may have reasonable concerns about your future as an attorney. Perhaps your firm has accused you of taking money from a client's estate or settlement, or your clients are complaining that you are not giving them adequate representation. If you did not believe you had a problem before, you may be convinced of it now.

Common characteristics

Studies show that lawyers are among those groups of people most prone to addictions, specifically gambling. Men and women who choose law as their profession seem to have similar personality traits in common with gamblers. Maybe you see yourself in these characteristics:

  • You enjoy taking risks.
  • You relish high-risk legal cases because they often bring big rewards.
  • Your job is stressful, and gambling provides a release.
  • You are prone to episodes of deep depression, which often contributes to destructive behaviors.
  • You struggle with other addictive behaviors, such as drinking or drug use.

In fact, gambling is known as a co-occurring addiction, meaning it often accompanies other addictions. As an attorney, you are twice as likely to suffer from substance dependency as those in the general public.

The damages gambling can do

You may be most concerned about facing a California disciplinary board about the complaints against you. However, you may have to deal with many serious, personal issues as well, for example:

  • Gambling often leads to bankruptcy.
  • You may find that your gambling will cause the breakup of your marriage.
  • Addiction to gambling has led many to neglect their children or lash out physically at their spouses.
  • The devastating financial and personal consequences associated with gambling cause one in every five gamblers to attempt suicide.

Your situation is not hopeless. There are professional organizations that can help you deal with your personal issues and fight the addiction that places your livelihood and lifestyle at risk. You also have recourse to fellow attorneys who are dedicated to assisting lawyers facing administrative and disciplinary matters.

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