Alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction, or excessive drinking, can cause significant problems for barristers, not only in their personal lives but also in their professional lives.

Excessive alcohol use can have harmful effects on both your physical and mental health. Drinking may also increase the risk of depression, anxiety or exacerbate or worsen those symptoms if already present.

Signs of harmful alcohol use may include:

  • Not being able to control how much you drink.
  • Having a strong urge to drink.
  • Being irritable if you are unable to drink.
  • Having physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, shakiness, or anxiety.
  • Drinking alone or hiding the extent of alcohol use.
  • Struggling with work or relationships.
  • Lateness – being late to court appearances, hearings, conferences, or other commitments.
  • Absence – missing court appearances or other events because of being hungover or unwell due to alcohol use.
  • Letting colleagues or clients down and not being able to commit to work or deadlines.
  • Having others express a desire that you stop or reduce your drinking.

Where can I find out more?

  • Contact your GP for help.
  • Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) – contact this free service on 1800 888 236 if you have issues with alcohol or are concerned about someone else’s alcohol intake.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – is available 24/7 on 1300 222 222.
  • Alcohol and Drug Foundation – visit or call 1300 858 584 for help and support.
  • Health Direct – visit healthdirect for more information, support, and resources.
  • DrinkWise – offers information and resources for people dealing with alcohol issues and parents with children experiencing alcohol-related problems.
  • Open Arms – offers counselling service and support for veterans and their families. Visit the Open Arms website for strategies and tools to get alcohol use under control.

For more information and practical strategies to cope with alcohol-related issues, please download the tip sheets on the right.