Articles

Mental Health Conditions & Seeking Help

Topics: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Suicide, Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Cutting, Emotional Health, Schizophrenia

As a law student, you may be reluctant to seek treatment for an emotional health issue because you worry that it will taint your academic career or sabotage your chances of becoming an attorney. And these concerns are legitimate as the Bar application in many states requires students report mental health problems. However, in the end, seeking help is still the best option for success in school and beyond.

While you may be asked a question about seeking help on your Bar exam, these questions are often out-dated and exist mostly to identify people dealing with substance abuse issues or other problems that could interfere with professional ethics and obligations. Fortunately, most emotional health conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and bipolar disorder, are very treatable and you can still have an active and successful career while managing these issues. The experts agree that the smartest strategy for success is to be proactive and seek help if needed.

Seeking treatment is part of being a successful student and a desirable candidate because you’re taking steps to avoid potential problems that may disrupt your education and career. Your mental health is a genuine concern that sometimes requires professional support. It’s exactly the same as seeing a doctor for a broken leg, a case of bronchitis or a worsening cold. Plus, because untreated mental illness is associated with dangerous behaviors like substance abuse and suicide, seeking help can literally be a lifesaver.

Below are the signs of several common mental health conditions. Even if you’re experiencing a few signs, it’s key to be proactive and address your symptoms before they get worse. Also, if you notice a friend struggling with these symptoms, speak up and reach out to them. There’s no reason to struggle in silence. You can also take our confidential screening to identify potential problems.

Depression

• Changes in sleep and appetite
• Exhaustion and decreased energy
• Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
• Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
• Low self-esteem
• Unrelenting sadness or irritability
• Cognitive difficulties such as an inability to think clearly, retain information or make decisions
• Aches and pains, headaches or digestive problems
• Thoughts of suicide
• Agitation or restlessness

Drug/Alcohol Abuse

• Neglected responsibilities such as slipping grades and decreasing class attendance
• Relationship problems
• No control over use such as using more drugs or drinking more alcohol than intended
• Physical tolerance to drugs or alcohol
• Mood swings
• Unexplained paranoia
• Increased need for privacy and isolation
• Loss of interest in favorite activities
• Suspicious behavior
• Forgetfulness
• Changes in physical appearance such as weight gain or loss
• Apathy about personal grooming
• Trouble sleeping

Anxiety Disorders

• Persistent worrying
• Avoidance of social situations for fear of being judged or humiliated
• Restlessness
• Fatigue
• Panic attacks
• Intense worry over subsequent panic attacks
• Fear and avoidance of certain places or objects
• Muscle aches and pains
• Trembling
• Sweating
• Shortness of breath
• Difficulty sleeping
• Irritability
• Stomach problems
• Dizziness
• Heart palpitations
• Fear of losing control or “losing your mind”
• Fear of dying