Addiction Treatment & Rehab for Lawyers
Lawyers often appear confident, extroverted, and in control in the courtroom, but they also face long work hours, high workloads, and high-pressure situations, which can be stressful and taxing. These issues may be correlated with substance misuse in attorneys.1, 2 Many lawyers struggle with substance misuse behind the scenes, as well as mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.1
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s smart to reach out when you need it so you can regain control. Rehab for lawyers can take place in different settings, and addiction treatment for lawyers is often designed so that you can continue to keep working and take care of your responsibilities.
Lawyers, Substance Misuse, and Mental Health
Rates of stress, mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, and alcohol and drug misuse are relatively high among lawyers.1 A 2016 study examined a sample of 12,825 licensed, employed attorneys who completed surveys that assessed alcohol use, drug use, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.1 This study found that:
- 36.4% of participants had an AUDIT-C score consistent with hazardous drinking or possible alcohol abuse or dependence.1 AUDIT is a 10-item questionnaire developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to screen unhealthy, hazardous, or harmful alcohol use. It provides scores ranging from 0 to 40. A score of 8 or more indicates hazardous or harmful alcohol intake, and also possible dependence.1 (AUDIT defines dependence as addiction, which is diagnosed as alcohol use disorder, or an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences).3, 4
- 22.6% of participants reported that their use of alcohol or other substances was problematic at some point in their lives. Out of these, 27.6% reported that their problematic use occurred before law school, 14.2% during law school, 43.7% within 15 years of completing law school, and 14.6% more than 15 years after completing law school.1
- Among participants who admitted to using specific types of drugs in the past 12 months, stimulants had the highest rate of weekly usage (74.1%), followed by sedatives (51.3%), tobacco (46.8%), marijuana (31.0%), and opioids (21.6%).1
- 61.1% of participants reported experiencing anxiety over the course of their legal careers, followed by depression (45.7%), social anxiety (16.1%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (12.5%), panic disorder (8.0%), and bipolar disorder (2.4%). 11.5% of the participants reported having suicidal thoughts at some point during their careers, 2.9% reported engaging in self-harming behaviors, and 0.7% reported at least 1 prior suicide attempt.1
Lawyers may turn to different substances for various reasons, many of which are unique to their field. Some of these reasons can include job stress, the toll their work can take on their mental health, dealing with high workloads, improving performance and confidence, dealing with burnout, and wanting to stay alert.2, 5
Addiction Treatment for Lawyers
Unfortunately, there’s often stigma associated with seeking help, especially in the legal profession. Lawyers might struggle with different issues that prevent them from getting the treatment they need. For example, they may feel ashamed, they may not want to miss work or appear weak, or they may have confidentiality concerns or fear being penalized.2, 6, 7
However, asking for help is brave and a sign of strength that you want to take control of your life. Addiction treatment for attorneys is available in a variety of settings, and effective treatment should be individualized based on your specific needs.8
Common attorney substance abuse treatment options include:
- Detox: This is sometimes the first step in the treatment process. It can help you achieve a substance-free state, which can help facilitate the transition into ongoing treatment.9
- Inpatient treatment: You live onsite at a drug and alcohol rehab for lawyers for the duration of treatment. You’ll participate in a variety of therapies, such as behavioral therapies and individual and group therapy, and learn new or improved coping skills, such as stress management.8
- Outpatient treatment: You live at home but travel to rehab on a set schedule for treatment. Outpatient treatment programs can vary in duration and intensity, depending on your needs. You may be able to keep working and attend to your daily responsibilities.9
- Dual diagnosis: This involves treating any co-occurring mental health conditions in addition to substance use disorder. Each disorder can affect the other, so it’s important to treat both. A dual diagnosis program can be helpful for lawyers dealing with two or more conditions.8
Executive rehabs and luxury drug and alcohol rehabs for lawyers can beneficial for lawyers who want to recover from substance use and addiction. They may offer flexible treatment schedules for lawyers who need to continue their work or even travel for their jobs.
Executive rehab for lawyers also often involves luxurious amenities, such as high-end, spa-like environments, private rooms with comfortable furnishings, private conference rooms where you can work, and exercise and fitness facilities. These features may help you focus on your recovery and minimize stress, yet offer you the opportunity to continue your work responsibilities.
Finding a Rehab for Lawyers
You can find a rehab for lawyers in different ways, such as through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s FindTreatment.gov website, the American Bar Association’s directory of Lawyer Assistance Programs (LAPs), or American Addiction Centers (AAC) national rehabs directory, where you can filter treatment options by location, insurance accepted, payment options, types of treatment, and more.
It’s a good idea to call ahead to different treatment facilities to inquire about their accreditation, insurance accepted, how soon you can be seen, and the specific amenities offered, especially if you’re considering an executive or luxury rehab.
If you’re a lawyer struggling with addiction, you can start the path to recovery today. Please call AAC at to speak with a caring and knowledgeable admissions navigator to learn more about rehab for attorneys. It’s free and confidential, and there’s zero obligation to enter treatment.