Workplace dissatisfaction is at an all-time high among lawyers.
Research shows law to be the occupation most susceptible to clinical depression. (Johns Hopkins University; 1990). Legal professionals are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than the general population.
Substance abuse among lawyers is rampant. While 10% of the general adult population is alcohol-dependant, among lawyers practicing from 2-20 years, the number jumps to 18%. For those practicing more than 20 years the number is 25%. Many of these individuals are both depressed and chemically-dependant.
The word depression conjures up many stereotypes and prejudices. As a clinical diagnosis, it can mean many things and encompass a range of symptoms, behaviours and etiologies. There are even more ways to deal with it.
Symptoms of depression:
- Hypersomnia/insomnia, waking early, difficulty getting up
- Psychomotor retardation/agitation (feeling like molasses/lead or jittery)
- Feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, self-critical, critical of others
- Change in appetite (weight gain or weight loss)
- Difficulty focusing, concentrating, making decisions
- Depressed mood, apathy, feeling overwhelmed or despair, ready tearfulness
- Isolation or not wanting contact
- Diminished interest in pleasure or things you were once interested in
- Suicidal ideation, thoughts of suicide, suicide plans or attempts
- Panic, continuous anxiety
- Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment
- Unpredictable or uncontrollable mood swings, restlessness, irritability
- Obsessive thinking, worrying or compulsive behaviours
- Use of alcohol or drugs to get sleep, calm nerves, provide energy or courage