What is Drug Abuse/Dependence?
Drug dependence, also known as addiction, is a chronic disease. It is progressive, and occurs when the body becomes physically dependant upon a drug. Drug addiction in any form – from cocaine to methamphetamine to prescription pain relievers and stimulants -changes the brain. Individuals who are dependent upon drugs may not be able to control how much they use and continue to use drugs despite serious consequences.
Drug abuse occurs when a person is not physically dependent upon a drug, but does exhibit problems with a particular drug. Someone who abuses drugs may use too frequently and experience problems due to drug use.
It is possible to recover from drug dependence and there are many resources available for help.
Symptoms of Drug Abuse/Dependence
Symptoms of drug dependence and abuse may differ, as each drug has different effects. Below are general symptoms associated with drug use:
Treatment of Drug Abuse/Dependence
Drug dependence and abuse are treatable. A healthcare professional will develop a tailored treatment approach – one that takes into account the individual’s drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric and social problems. A treatment strategy may also include participation in support groups, which are often helpful in the recovery process.
How Drug Abuse/Dependence Affects Lawyers
Some studies suggest that lawyers abuse substances at a higher rate than the general population. While it’s uncertain why drug abuse and dependence is prevalent in the legal profession, it is clear that drug abuse and dependence can have a devastating affect on a lawyer’s career and personal life.
Lawyer assistance programs (LAPs) are here to support lawyers, judges, students and other legal professionals who suffer from drug dependence and abuse. Contact your state or local LAP.
How to Help a Colleague
If you believe a colleague may have a problem with drugs, encourage him or her to seek help. Contact a LAP for additional support and resources.
Addiction and Attorneys: Confronting the Denial (Wisconsin Lawyer)
The Burden of Stigma: Barrier to Treatment, Bane of Recovery (Michigan Bar Journal)
Demystifying 12-Step Programs (GPSolo Magazine)
Dependencies, Disabilities, and Discipline (Michigan Bar Journal)
Identifying Addiction (GPSolo Magazine)
Out of the Shadows: Women and Addiction (GPSolo Magazine)
Understanding Addiction, Helping Clients and Colleagues (The Alabama Lawyer)
What to Expect in Treatment (GPSolo)