Managing your general health and wellness is integral in helping you function at your peak performance in all aspects of life. This includes being aware of your health and well-being, understanding how to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and psychologically, and learning how to make good lifestyle choices.
WisLAP recognizes that legal professionals work within a culture of stress. Heavy caseloads and dockets, high demands with limited resources, long hours and struggling to find time for family or interpersonal relationships can result in a decrease in overall health and well-being.
Unlike everyday stress, chronic stress is the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period of time during which the individual perceives he or she has little or no control. This is associated with many physical symptoms such as:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease
Research shows attorneys and judges have a higher rate of depression than the general population.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is an illness that involves the body, emotions, and thoughts. It can affect appetite and sleep, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Depression can result in thoughts of suicide or dying which indicate an imbalance within the brain and the need for evaluation and treatment.
Don't ignore depression symptoms or hope they'll go away on their own. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment can help most people who suffer from depression. Talk to a health care professional.
- Decreased productivity
- Decreased interest in activities
- Sleep disturbances
- Eating and weight changes
- Fatigue/loss of energy
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million people in the U.S. each year, making them the most commonly diagnosed mental illness. They are not merely brief, relatively mild episodes of anxiety caused by a stressful situation, they develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
These disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social phobia. Left untreated, anxiety disorders can dramatically reduce productivity and significantly diminish the person's quality of life. However, anxiety disorders respond well to treatment with medication and psychotherapy. Many individuals with anxiety disorders are high achievers.
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty concentrating
If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help right away:
- Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK  to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
- Text START to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line
- Call 911 for Emergency services.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
A correlation exists between suicide, depression, and other mental health issues, including substance abuse. Statistics suggest that many who commit suicide were under the influence at the time of death. In one study, approximately one third of those who committed suicide were positive for alcohol at the time of death and approximately 1 and 5 had evidence of opiates.
Statistically lawyers rank fourth in suicides by profession behind only dentists, pharmacists and physicians.
Is this due to the "lawyer personality"? The high stress business model? The adversarial nature of the profession? Long hours and isolation? The ongoing stigma against getting help and/or the fear of exposing that vulnerability?
Warning signs that may indicate someone is contemplating suicide:
- Verbal threats or comments such as “You’d be better off without me” or “Maybe I won’t be around.” Direct threats to do harm to self such as “I will just kill myself.”
- Expressions of hopelessness and/or helplessness
- Previous suicide attempts
- Daring or risk-taking behavior
- Personality change (withdrawal, aggression, moodiness)
- Giving away prized possessions, getting one’s life in order
- Lack of interest in the future
Eating disorders include multiple conditions that involve an obsession with food, weight, and/or physical appearance to the degree that a person's health, relationships and daily activities are negatively affected. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups.
The same personality factors that can make a successful lawyer also overlap and increase the risk in developing and eating disorder. Some examples are, perfectionism (high expectations of self), the need to over-achieve (low self-esteem), and black and white thinking (seeing everything as a success of failure).
Some symptoms include:
- Low self-esteem
- A need to control
- Shame and guilt issues
- Obsessive thinking and/or worrying
Women's Health Websites
Men's Health Websites
Disclaimer: These screening tests and associated information
do not provide a diagnosis. They are meant as a tool to help assess and be used as a guide. You may contact WisLAP to talk confidentially
and answer any questions or concerns you may have.