Three-quarters of lawyers say they are more stressed now than they were five years ago, according to a survey by legal charity LawCare.

Responses from more than 1,000 solicitors, barristers and legal executives blamed overwork, poor management, lack of appreciation, and feeling isolated or unsupported. Other reasons for stress included unattainable targets, long hours, poor pay and job insecurity.

Nearly half of respondents (47%) said they occasionally felt at breaking point and a minority said they had turned to prescription or illegal drugs – 14% said they take prescription drugs each day, or several times a week.

Up to 31% of respondents said they occasionally drank more than the recommended units, with 19% doing so at least once a week, 17% several times a week and 3% every day.

Of those questioned, 70% said their work environment was stressful and 45% believed they had insufficient support, although 45% said their workplace was friendly.

LawCare chief executive Hilary Tilby said: ‘It’s clear from the results of our survey that many lawyers are feeling increasingly stressed. Unfortunately, the majority also feel that it is not something that they can raise as an issue in the workplace.’

Solicitors can call LawCare free on 0800 279 6888.