Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It affects people from all walks of life. However, the stakes can be particularly high for people with professional licenses.

Lawyers, doctors, nurses, and other licenses professionals often work in high-stress fields. The desire to “take the edge off” through the abuse of drugs or alcohol can be overwhelming. License professionals may be reluctant to seek help because of concerns about their careers. This reluctance can make problems worse as things can quickly spin out of control.

Addressing issues while maintaining a professional career

Licensed professionals are held to a higher standard than members of the general public because they are responsible for the lives and well-being of others. This is a tremendous responsibility, which can sometimes feel like a burden.

You are not the first person to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you find yourself becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs, it’s important to confront these issues head-on. It’s best to nip these problems in the bud before they harm your career. However, doing so isn’t always possible.

The good news is most professional organizations understand the issues that many of their members face. If you work in health care, enrolling in an assistance program can get you the help you need. The State Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) helps attorneys with a wide range of addiction and mental health issues.

In many cases, showing a willingness to seek help and to address concerns can go a long way toward mitigating any professional fallout. If you do find yourself running afoul of your professional organization’s disciplinary board, you should discuss your options with a skilled professional.

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