Some Signs and Symptoms of Depression and Substance Abuse

  • Consistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Lack of interest in people, things or activities previously enjoyed
  • Increased fatigue of loss of energy, restlessness or irritability
  • Noticeable changes in appetite weight or sleep patterns
  • Isolation from family, friends, colleagues
  • Feelings and expressions of guilt or worthlessness
  • Diminished ability to remember, think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Thoughts or expressions of death or suicide
  • Using alcohol or drugs to bolster performance
  • Using alcohol/substances on the job, during the day, before appointments, meetings, deposition or court appearances
  • Failing to show for appointments, phone calls, depositions, court appearances/ failing to return phone calls
  • Declining quality and quantity of work product
  • Avoiding law partners, staff, colleagues, clients, friends and family
  • Drinking/using substances alone. Making excuses for, or lying about, frequency or amount
  • Moral, ethical and behavioral transgressions


This desk reference was produced by the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, reprinted with permission and edited for length.