Why is drug and alcohol abuse so rampant in the legal profession and how can you assist others who may need help?
Written by: Dr. Michael Eason
Rates of drug and alcohol abuse have been steadily rising due to pandemic related stress. Unfortunately, high rates of abuse were already common within the legal profession long before the events of last year.
According to current statistics, problematic drinking often begins in law school and carries over into what can then be decades of practice. Alongside problematic drinking, persons in the legal profession also frequently exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some of the risk factors making drug and alcohol abuse prevalent in the legal profession include: stress, the competitive job market, client and firm time demands, law school debt payments, demands of billable hours, the expectation to always be available for clients, and the pressures of constant productivity (“always be billing, always be productive”).
Such a pressure cooker environment is fertile ground for addictive behaviours to develop as coping mechanisms and as means of escape or release. In order to help friends or colleagues who may be struggling with addiction, it is useful to know some of the warning signs. Put simply, one can look for changes in behaviour and notice when the person is acting out of character or in atypical fashion for that individual. Such changes may include mood swings, weight gain or loss, sudden or recurrent illness, changes in energy levels, secret keeping, lying, and/or financial unpredictability. There may also be changes to one’s social group.
It is pivotal to break the stigma surrounding substance abuse and create a culture where this is discussed openly with the same transparency with which we view any other medical or health concern. The good news is that there are many effective treatment options available for those caught in the vicious cycle of abuse and misuse.
Hong Kong solicitors do not currently have a CPD requirement for this training, Legal Beagle thinks it is an important topic that needs more awareness in the Hong Kong legal market. Therefore, we are proud to introduce our course, “Prevention of Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession.” This online CPD course is accredited for CPD credit in Hong Kong.
The online CPD course discusses the issues in the legal profession, how to identify substance abuse problems in the legal profession, and how to prevent and manage those risks.
Dr. Michael Eason instructs this course. He currently works in private practice as clinical director and co-founder at Lifespan Counselling Central. Dr. Eason obtained his PhD from City University of Hong Kong. He also hold a Master’s degree in Psychology in addition to an advanced Specialist in Education degree in Guidance and Counselling. Dr. Eason is a Licensed Professional Counsellor and a National Certified Counsellor in the US, with memberships in the Psychotherapy Society of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association, the American Counseling Association and the American Psychological Association.
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