Sanctions, Depression, and Addiction

Lawyers Weekly recently ran an article that readers of the Lawyer Addiction Blog will be interested in. “Lawyers Starting Over” (Christopher  Guly, Oct 16/09 issue) describes the intersection of depression with law society sanctions, and outlines the huge range of emotion and behaviour that lawyers face when they are suspended or disbarred, often as a result of addiction or mental health problems.

“[N]ot all lawyers can cope after being suspended or disbarred from practice.

“A lot of them get very angry and upset, and some of them descend into addiction — and sometimes never get out of it,” explained John Starzynski, who serves as the volunteer executive director of the Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program (OLAP).

Starzynski said the addictions cover the gamut, from alcohol and drugs (particularly cocaine) to occasionally sex and often gambling. The latest — and fastest growing addiction that Starzynski sees through OLAP — is to the Internet.”

The article also tells the personal stories of Starzynski (Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program), and Keith Anderson, a Nova Scotia lawyer who at one time faced debilitating depression.

An informative article – well worth the read.

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