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Addicted Lawyers: How To Treat Them

By Minara El-Rahman on January 20, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Most attorneys can attest to the fact that their job is stressful. However, a frequent side effect of having a high pressure job also means that lawyers are more likely than the general population to abuse alcohol and suffer from depression, the Associated Press reports.

How do some lawyers turn into addicted lawyers?

"Attorneys have high-stress jobs. They have unreasonable expectations on how much they can hoist on their shoulders. Some of the qualities that ... make them good attorneys make them really bad at self care," says Chuck Rice, a supervisor at the Hazelden treatment facility.

What are some options for addiction treatment for lawyers?

Hazelden is a treatment facility that specifically provides addiction treatment for lawyers. It not only offers standard treatment for addicted lawyers, but it also offers additional services such as weekly legal professionals group therapy session and AA meetings specifically for addicted lawyers.

There are also programs available to attorneys through their local bar association. For example, the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program of the State Bar of Michigan offers assistance and encouragement to addicted lawyers. California enacted the Attorney Diversion and Assistance Act in 2001 which would help addicted attorneys stay licensed with the help of an assistance program, according to California Lawyer Magazine.

For most attorneys, the first step to treatment is admitting that there is a problem. Since substance abuse carries a stigma with it, it is hard for lawyers to admit when they need help. "There is a lot of stigma in the profession. We always think we can fix everything, so it's hard to ask for help," said Joan Bibelhausen, executive director of Minnesota Lawyers Concerned For Lawyers.

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