An attorney's job isn't always the easiest. No matter which area of law you practice, you probably have a first-hand look at people who are going through some of the darkest days of their lives. All too frequently, you may have to deliver clients the bad news that they can't get exactly what they want.
It's a stressful position to be in. Between the emotional aspects of the job, the pressure to succeed, the long hours and other stressors, is it any wonder that a total of 36 percent -- more than one out of three attorneys -- is considered a problem drinker? A total of 21 percent are full-blown alcoholics, which is a dismal comparison to the 6.8 percent of alcoholics in the general population.
Now, researchers indicate that alcoholism may often be a form of self-medication among attorneys who are suffering from mental health problems. Among the attorneys studied, researchers found:
- 28 percent admitted to suffering from depression
- 19 percent suffered from anxiety
- 23 percent claimed that stress negatively affected them
The majority of attorneys with drinking problems admitted that their drinking started within the first 15 years of opening their law practices. That suggests that many young attorneys aren't adequately prepared for the mental and emotional rigors of a practice that puts them face-to-face with human beings in deep distress.
Alcoholism and mental health problems can drastically increase the probability that an attorney will make mistakes in their law practices. According to liability insurers, those issues create a "steady stream" of claims against attorneys for malpractice.
Don't put your license to practice law on the line due to alcoholism or mental health issues. As difficult as it may be, seek help for your condition -- before you start to make mistakes with your client's cases.
If a mistake does happen, you do have options. Don't try to handle the defense of your professional license on your own. Seek experienced assistance as soon as possible.