Drug and alcohol abuse among affluent professionals is on the rise. As the economy continues to struggle and more people are fighting for fewer jobs, many are resorting to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress, especially in the high-pressure legal field.
“It will be very interesting to see what the changes have been given the consolidation, post-recession layoffs, downsizing and economic stressors that have come into the profession in the last 10 years that arguably made it more stressful than it ever has been,” explained Patrick Krill, director of the legal professionals program at an inpatient treatment center.
In addition to the stresses of keeping one’s job, the amount of work that lawyers are taking on is increasing. With more layoffs there is more work for those that are still employed, and more pressure to finish every task given to them, despite it being unrealistic.
There is currently a study being conducted that analyzes the amount of addiction among lawyers. While the results have not been released, another study may shed some light as to what lawyers are going through. In 1990, a study found that lawyers have 3.6 times the rate of depression as other occupational groups. That same study also showed that lawyers have a higher rate of drug and alcohol abuse. It was reported that 15 to 20 percent of lawyers reported a substance abuse problem, compared to the average nine percent in other professional fields.
The drug of choice for most lawyers, judges and law students appears to be alcohol. An overwhelming number of people resort to alcohol to get through their problems. Three quarters of people in the law profession who sought help through employee assistance programs cited alcohol as their main problem. Prescription drug abuse came in second with just under 10 percent of employees reporting a problem with abusing medication.
Usually co-workers and family members are the first ones to spot substance abuse problems. The time to act is before something more devastating happens. Family First Intervention can help.