An ugly new study came out showing that lawyers have a huge drinking problem. As per the Washington Post:
More than 20 percent of licensed attorneys drink at levels that are considered “hazardous, harmful, and potentially alcohol-dependent.” That’s three times higher than the rate of problem drinking among the general public.
That’s a huge number. And since the survey covered over 12,000 lawyers, it is impossible to simply dismiss. It is published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.
Lawyers, it seems, also have a higher incidence of depression, as per the report. The research conclusions were:
Attorneys experience problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise consistent with alcohol use disorders at a higher rate than other professional populations. Mental health distress is also significant.
You can read the summary at the Washington Post, and the explanations for the results related to the high-stress environment that lawyers work in. Or you can read the actual study if you don’t want to see a reporter’s distillation of the study.
More importantly, you can take the alcohol test itself to see if you are one of those 20%. The test is an easy 10-question survey you can self-administer, and you can read about the significance of your own score at the link above:
Thanks Eric! These tests can be a positive if someone is in a position where they are already thinking about it, Whether they generate self-awareness from ground zero is a tougher call. I was a full blown alcoholic in law school. I took the 20 questions test from AA, dismissed it as something everyone does in college. I wasn’t ready.
I figure that if one person reads it and sees themselves and it spurs him/her to action, then posting this was a good thing, even though it isn’t one of the things I usually write about.
Since I have crossed paths with hundreds of lawyers in my career, a little math tells me that many of them had/have a problem.
if it helps one person past the tipping point to self awareness of their issue, its a victory
This PDF gives a more in-depth look at the AUDIT assessment instrument, including spelling out the so-called Zones for medical practitioner response. Very useful.
It all comes down to the “Bar” exam does it not?
Seriously. That’s why they call it Bar Association, right?