Lawyers and doctors are among America’s loneliest workers, according to a new survey in the Harvard Business Review.
The survey of 1,624 full-time employees, all participants in a longitudinal study of 4,000, found that folks with “professional degrees (law and medical degrees) were 25 percent lonelier than [those with] bachelor’s degrees, and 20 percent lonelier than PhDs.”
This is perhaps not too surprising, given past research. For example, the American Bar Association states that one in four lawyers suffers from psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, social alienation and isolation. And other studies have found that 30 percent of medical students and residents report suffering from depression, which is often intertwined with loneliness.
The survey also found that social support played a role. Single, separated or divorced employees reported higher levels of loneliness than those in a relationship. Childless workers reported higher levels of loneliness than parents, and atheists and agnostics were lonelier than members of religious communities.
The Health Risks of Loneliness
Loneliness has been found to be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and has been linked to an increased risk of the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Problematic alcohol and drug use
Those of us in the addiction community likely know that loneliness is a common relapse trigger. After all, it’s the “L” in the famous recovery slogan “HALT.” The good news: A few relatively simple steps can go a long way in preventing loneliness from having a negative impact on your health and your recovery.
- Join an online or in-person support group. Meeting others who have been in your shoes is a surefire way to feel supported and motivated in your journey toward sobriety.
- Find a hobby. The right hobby can open doors to new friends and give you a shared passion to talk about with others.
- Make time for friends and family. You’re never too busy to carve out time for family and friends — and this especially important to remember during any down times when you’re natural instinct is to retreat into isolation.
- Vow to volunteer. Volunteering for a local charity or organization can help you get out into the community and meet positive, like-minded people.
Addiction Help for Professionals
Don’t let loneliness lead you into drug or alcohol abuse. At Providence Treatment, we pride ourselves on being a supportive and effective rehab for professionals, including lawyers and doctors. To learn more, call today: (866) 247-3307.