Attorneys: When Depression Strikes and When to See A Doctor

7
Dec

african american man stressed and dealing with depression at workWhen the air turns cooler and the autumn breeze picks up the holiday season is never far behind. It is a time for family, friends, good food, shopping for gifts, and enjoying each other’s company. But what happens when you can’t seem to find your holiday spirit?

Just because your holiday spirit is lacking doesn’t necessarily make you a Grinch, though it could be a sign of something much more important.

Depression doesn’t strike when it is most convenient for you, sometimes there is a reason for it and sometimes there is not. In fact, it is not at all uncommon to develop depression symptoms during the holiday season.

But not all cases of the winter blues are the same and therefore, it is important to know when to reach out to your doctor and discuss what you are experiencing.

african american man relaxed and happy at home on couch with laptopKnow The Signs of Depression

Being a lawyer is one of the most stressful professions, so it’s understandable if you count yourself among the 28 percent of lawyers who struggle with depression.

According to Tyger Latham Psy.D. in an article posted on Psychology Today, “In counseling law students and many early career attorneys, I’ve come to recognize some common characteristics amongst those in the profession. Most, from my experience, tend to be ‘Type A’s’ (i.e., highly ambitious and over-achieving individuals). They also have a tendency toward perfectionism, not just in their professional pursuits but in nearly every aspect of their lives. While this characteristic is not unique to the legal profession – nor is it necessarily a bad thing – when rigidly applied, it can be problematic. The propensity of many law students and attorneys to be perfectionistic can sometimes impede their ability to be flexible and accommodating, qualities that are important in so many non-legal domains.”

In short, Latham goes on to suggest that it is the very character traits that make lawyers successful that also makes them prone to experiencing depression and anxiety.

But how do you know when you are displaying symptoms of depression?

One of the largest misconceptions regarding depression is that people who suffer from it are sad all the time and in some cases, may want to commit suicide. What many fail to realize is that depression is much more than that.

Depression is different in that it can creep up on you without you even noticing it. Symptoms that might be described as being in relation to a bad day may continue to linger for multiple days or weeks before you even realize feeling off.

According to Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms of depression are as follows:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness.
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports.
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort.
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain.
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness.
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame.
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide.
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.

If you should experience any of these symptoms, or a combination of them for a period of two weeks or more, it is advised to consult with your primary care physician.

Taking Care of Yourself

If you are without health insurance or haven’t reviewed your current health insurance plan this year, from now until December 15th is the 2018 Open Enrollment period where you can enroll in a health insurance plan designed to provide you and your family with the health care you need.

To learn more about Open Enrollment or to see your health insurance options, visit your association page for additional information.

If you would like additional assistance, our licensed Benefits Counselors are on hand to help. Click here to schedule an appointment to speak with one about your 2018 health insurance options.