Are you happy practicing law, and if so what keeps you happy? Recently it seems that almost every time I read an article on lawyers it is about the high rate of depression in the legal field. Why do lawyers have such a high rate of depression?
My observations of law school students and lawyers are that they typically possess similar character traits and respond to stress in a similar fashion. Lawyers often fall into the “Type A Personality,” which includes the following traits:
Although these traits aren’t necessarily bad, they can cause physical and emotional problems when they dominate every aspect of your life. Different areas of your life, such as work and social, require being flexible and accommodating. You may need to be critical in some areas of your life, but if you carry that over into your personal relationships it can be very destructive. Managing life this way can lead to excessive stress, which in turn can lead to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Having a constant sense of urgency can be exhausting and lead to burnout at work, play, and home. There are times when you need to be watching the clock, but always feeling like you are struggling against time can lead to unnecessary stress, impatience and a feeling that your work isn’t being completed to the best of your ability.
Here are some tips to help you maintain your sanity:
This Tip Sheet has been written by Lisa Caplan. Lisa is a Licensed Certified Social Worker at the clinical level (LCSW-C) and a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC). She has over 15 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and trauma.
For Assistance Please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential assistance. Jim Quinn, Lawyer Assistance Director, 443.703.3041, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, CAC, Lawyer Assistance Counselor, 443.703.3042, email@example.com. Toll free 800.492.1964