Lawyers and Depression

Today’s post was authored by Hal Nevitt, Director of the State Bar of Arizona Member Assistance Program. We welcome his submission as well as those from other lawyer assistance programs.

Life in today’s world can be tumultuous, particularly with the recent change in the economic structure of our lives. Even in the best of times we all experience fluctuations in our moods.  Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s losses, stressors, and struggles.

Depression, a condition that is different than sadness can manifest itself in our lives in many different ways. It can disrupt sleep and appetite. There may be an inability to focus or concentrate on material that is vital to a person’s occupation or personal life. There may be feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that pervade one’s entire existence.

With the intensity of these emotional states there is little wonder that people describe themselves as apathetic, devoid of happiness, satisfaction or even the perceived ability to change. Life is not only empty, it is experienced as living in “black hole” where activities and relationships that were once and satisfying are now boring and lifeless.

Lawyers are at increased risk for depression. Recent studies indicate that lawyers suffer depression at a rate twice that of other occupations. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression please reach out, get help.

The Member Assistance Program of the State Bar of Arizona can help. For confidential response and referral please call Hal Nevitt at 602-340-7334 or 602-885-4533.

The State Bar of Arizona Member Assistance Program website includes several resources on depression: info on signs, symptoms, and how to mitigate/treat depression, a depression & mania self-test, and an article on dealing with depression.

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