Sunday, September 17, 2006

Booze, Drugs and Law School

Interesting article about Lawyers, Depression, Alcoholism and Cocaine Abuse.

Regarding Depression:

Whereas only 3 to 9 percent of individuals in Western industrialized countries suffer from depression, by late spring of the first year of law school, 32 percent of the students were depressed. The percentage increased again by late spring of the third year when 40 percent of the class reported significantly elevated depression levels. Two years after law school, 17 percent of the same subjects were still reporting that they were depressed.

Was that uplifting enough for you?
Although we were unable to collect empirical data about the frequency of lawyers attempting to commit or committing suicide, and how these rates contrast to the general population, it is our clinical impression that, unless lawyers enter treatment and end their isolation, they are at much greater risk of not only acting upon their suicidal ideation but of also being lethal during an attempt.

Now to the booze...
Eighteen percent of the lawyers were problem drinkers. This percentage is almost twice the approximately 10 percent alcohol abuse and/or dependency prevalence rates estimated for adults in the United States.

A bit of good news...
Less than one percent of the lawyers exceeded the clinical cut off established to determine cocaine abuse. This figure is significantly below the national average of 3 percent of the adult population. On the other hand, 26 percent of our sample have used cocaine at some point in their lives, compared to 12 percent for the general population...The number of years that lawyers practice did not affect the percentages of subjects who suffered from depression or cocaine abuse...Alcohol abuse and dependency is a chronic and progressive disease. It can take many years to become evident in some cases. As a result, those who have practiced longer appear to be more susceptible to developing problem drinking.
So if you're not depressed or a cokehead now you most likely should be ok. Unless you're a lush, because you're probably going to become an alcoholic. Sweet.

1 comment:

M said...

yeah, word on the street is that close to half of the students at my school are on antidepressants. Law rocks.