Since Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center 25 years ago, he has used a unique dual diagnosis methodology to treat chemical addictions along with the underlying psychological and mental issues that cause or worsen them. It is our firm belief that treating substance abuse without also addressing attendant problems like depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder will ultimately result in a failed recovery. That's why we at Fairwinds were so pleased to learn that the American Bar Association (ABA) is currently working to survey attorneys across the country about their experiences with addiction, anxiety and depression. Data reflecting substance abuse rates will be far more valuable when considered in the context of the latter two factors. The survey will be conducted anonymously to encourage total honesty among participants.
So are lawyers more likely to suffer from addiction? Some research indicates that the answer is yes. In fact, attorneys may be twice as likely to become dependent on substances compared to the average person. Some experts think that the problem may be even worse than those figures suggest.
Terry Harrell, chair of the ABA's Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, says in a recent press release that greater awareness of addiction is needed among legal professionals. He says he hopes the results of the survey will help to encourage attorneys to seek professional help if they need it.
"We should celebrate this important collaboration," Harrell says in the statement. "Having well-conducted, current research on how these issues impact our profession will help us to better target our resources and provide the best assistance we can to our profession. In addition, this research will help inform the work of lawyer discipline, judicial discipline, lawyer admissions and all those providing treatment to judges, lawyers and law students."
A 2012 report by the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation found that in 1990, nearly two in 10 lawyers had problems with alcohol, double the rate among members of the general population. Among lawyers who had been practicing for 20 years or more, an astounding one in four struggled with drinking problems, according to the study. Attorneys who drank excessively were also more likely to be accused of legal malpractice.
A separate study that also examined data from 1990 discovered that lawyers that year had the highest rates of depression among all 105 professions surveyed. One in 10 attorneys reported experiencing symptoms. Again, it is not surprising to Fairwinds Treatment Center's addiction experts to see striking similarities in lawyers' depression and drinking rates. It is likely that many of the professionals struggling with substance abuse are also fighting emotional and mental challenges, and vice versa.
If you are a legal professional who thinks you may be suffering from addiction and/or psychological issues, even those that may have thus far gone undiagnosed, know that you are far from alone. Stressful, demanding work, when coupled with certain genetic tendencies, may have led you to make self-destructive choices when it comes to alcohol and drug consumption. However, know that it is possible to heal and return to your work with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, thanks to Dr. El-Yousef's personalized combination of therapeutic counseling and clinical treatment. There is simply no better place to achieve a lasting recovery than at Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida. Contact us today to learn more.