Law Students, Lawyers and Depression | Depression Treatment Orange County

17 Sep

Depression Treatment Orange County

How do you know if you, a classmate, or colleague needs help with depression?

The first thing to know is that seeking help is a sign of strength. If you’re worried or concerned, go with the inclination and ask for help! This is never a wrong decision. Truly, seeing a professional can make a difference.

Depression is not a character weakness. It is neither a “mood” nor a personal trait which you can decide not to have, or change at will. Rather, it is a real medical illness with real causes, just as thyroid disease and high blood pressure are. More than 19 million Americans suffer from some type of depression, and one in eight people will need treatment for depression during his or her lifetime. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Many studies have confirmed that attorneys and law school students suffer from depression at much higher rates than the general public.

According to the Dave Nee Foundation:

  • Depression among law students is 8-9% prior to matriculation, 27% after one semester, 34% after 2 semesters, and 40% after 3 years.
  • Stress among law students is 96%, compared to 70% in med students and 43% in graduate students.
  • Entering law school, law students have a psychological profile similar to that of the general public. After law school, 20-40% have a psychological dysfunction.
  • Psychological distress, dissatisfaction and substance abuse that begin in law school follow many graduates into practice.
  • Only half of lawyers are very satisfied or satisfied with their work.
  • Chronic stress can trigger the onset of clinical depression.
  • Lawyers are the most frequently depressed occupational group in the US.
  • Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.
  • Depression and anxiety is cited by 26% of all lawyers who seek counseling.
  • 15% of people with clinical depression commit suicide.
  • Lawyers rank 5th in incidence of suicide by occupation.
  • 19% of lawyers suffer from statistically significant elevated levels of depression, according to a survey conducted on lawyers in Washington. (n.d.). Retrieved from

There is not a typical way people look and feel when they have depression or any mental health disorder and these disorders can look different in men and women. Some people show behavioral changes, like missing deadlines or avoiding all personal interactions. Others might show physical signs, like not making eye contact or constant headaches.

If you recognize any combination of the below symptoms for more than two weeks in yourself, a friend or a colleague, getting help is particularly important

This list of signs and symptoms of depression comes from lawyers who have experienced depression firsthand. It is the hope that this list will help attorneys, judges and law students dealing with depression, to realize that they are not alone and encourage them to seek the help they need.

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

  • Inability to meet professional or personal obligations, procrastination, file stagnation and neglect, lowered productivity, missing deadlines (statutes, filing responsive pleadings or motions,)
  • excuse making and potential for misrepresentation to clients
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Emotional paralysis – unable to open mail or answer phones
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Persistent sadness or apathy, crying, anxiety, feelings of emptiness
  • Feelings of confusion, loneliness, isolation, desolation, being overwhelmed and unavailable to what is going on around you.
  • Guilt, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, low self-esteem
  • Neglect of personal care
  • Changes in sleep, increases or decreases in time spent sleeping.
  • Changes in sexual energy or desire
  • Changes in eating, including loss of or significant increase in appetite
  • Thoughts of Suicide (Ideation), Planning Suicide or Suicide Attempts

Who is at Risk? Who needs Depression Treatment Orange County?

No one is immune…

Depression Treatment in Orange County. If you would like to speak to someone about depression, please contact Nancy Caltagirone, LMFT for a free consultation.

Women are more likely to be diagnosed and treated for major depression. Men are less inclined to acknowledge episodes of depression and may cope with their feelings by self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. The beginning law school student is faced with the significant pressure of having to learn to think and produce work as an attorney, at the same time as needing to adjust to the demands and culture of graduate school. This experience can produce feelings of depression quite quickly after the beginning of the semester. Seasoned attorneys can often be dealing with symptoms of burnout from many years spent putting in long hours for hard to please clients and employers, as well as, having to deal with fluctuating levels of income, if working in a solo or small firm office.

“The majority of those who struggle with depression, never seek treatment and suffer needlessly. The biggest issue is not what kind of treatment, but rather, getting people into treatment and attorneys are no exception. More than 80% of people with a depressive illness improve with appropriate treatment. Treatment, which includes counseling, can lessen the severity of the depressive symptoms. It may also reduce the length of episodes and help prevent additional bouts of depression.” (n.d.) Retrieved from

Colleagues, family members and friends play an important part in recognizing depressive symptoms and assisting those in need with getting help. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or know someone in the legal field, who is in need of help, call for a free and confidential consultation.

If you feel you need Depression Treatment Orange County, please contact Nancy Caltagirone, LMFT for a free consultation

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