Dr. Helen

Is There any Profession That Is Not Dysfunctional These Days?

I read with interest this article on the high rate of dysfunction of today’s lawyers (thanks to Terry Brennan for the link):

Between 21 and 36 percent of practicing lawyers are problem drinkers. Twenty-eight percent suffer from depression; 19 percent struggle with anxiety; and 23 percent are impaired by stress. Law students fare little better—17 percent are depressed; 14 percent suffer severe anxiety; 6 percent reported suicidal thoughts in the past year; and 22 percent engaged in binge drinking during the year.

Those are the dismal results of the 2016 study of 13,000 lawyers by the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and a separate Survey of Law Student Well-Being conducted that same year, which included 3,300 law students from 15 different law schools.

It seems that many of the professions have issues with dysfunctional people, even as students.  In one study, it was found that 10% of grad students at Berkeley had contemplated suicide:

In 2005, a study found that 10 percent of graduate and professional students at the University of California at Berkeley had contemplated suicide. More than half reported feeling depressed a lot of the time. While concerns about undergraduates’ mental health were already growing then and have only increased since, the finding about graduate students surprised and alarmed many experts. And because of Berkeley’s prominence in educating future Ph.D.s and professors, the study was widely circulated.

Ten years later, the graduate student government at Berkeley is releasing a new study. It too finds a high percentage of graduate students showing signs of depression.

Do dysfunctional people go into certain professions or does the work of the profession cause them to be dysfunctional–or a little of both?  More importantly, though, how does the substance abuse and/ or emotional difficulties a professional posesses manifest itself in his or her work? Can a depressed problem drinker be a good lawyer?  Or professor? Or is it a requirement for the job these days?