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Addiction is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain from mood altering substances, impairment in b​ehavioral control, craving (a programmed response to environmental signals that have been connected to drugs through experience), diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behavior and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.  Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission.

Lawyers and judges suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, or other behavioral addictions, often deny that they have a problem.  Qualities that make successful lawyers, such as, the need to be in control and the unwillingness to admit defeat, often times are associated with addiction behavior.

Substance Related Addictions

Over time, repeated experiences with substance use are not associated with increased physical reward, tolerance develops creating a "high," but they also experience a deeper "low."  Soon the addicted individual "needs" to use the addictive substance in order to function. Click here to learn more.

Some Common Warning Signs:

  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut back or control use
  • Drop in performance
  • Changes in sleep and/or appetite
  • Sudden mood swings

Behavioral Addictions

These include "addictions" to sex, love, shopping, work, internet gaming, gambling, excessive physical exercise, and other non-chemical addictions.  When problems exist with impulsivity, diminished executive functioning, loss of control and problems with mood regulation around the activity, WisLAP is a resource.

Do I Have a Problem?

About 10% of the U.S. population has a drug or alcohol problem. For attorneys, it is as high as 18%.

Additonal Resources:


 For more information on Support Groups in Wisconsin, visit the State Bar's Support Group page