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Understanding Work Related Depression and Its Symptoms

written by: Malka M. Feast • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 7/16/2010

Work related depression is increasing in prevalence. If left untreated, the consequences to health can be severe. Detecting the signs and symptoms of work related depression are vital if the correct treatments are to be applied.

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    Work Related Depression

    Work related depression is a disorder which is often overlooked in the workplace. The symptoms of work related depression can be easily mistaken for ordinary stress. Studies indicate that people who are diagnosed with this illness are mostly working females or people with low level occupations. Since the severity of depression is often not taken as seriously as other illnesses, people who suffer from it shy away from getting proper treatment.

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    Main Causes of Work Related Depression

    The main causes of work related depression stem from the following:

    • a long work schedule
    • a feeling of job insecurity
    • an overload of work
    • meticulous daily tasks
    • a change in administration
    • unrealistic deadlines
    • office gossip, especially about you
    • dead end job; no room for a promotion
    • the feeling of having your job performance placed under a microscope
    • harassment
    • conflict with co-workers and/ or supervisors
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    Symptoms of Work Related Depression

    A person with symptoms of work related depression can possess any of the following:

    • the inability to cope - Normal routine tasks become a battle to complete. Social gatherings feel awkward to attend. A feeling may come over you that your life is spiraling out of control.
    • depression - You feel a sense of self-worthlessness combined with uncontrollable crying spells. Suicidal thoughts creep into your mind as an escape route to all of your problems. One may feel that personal hygiene and physical appearance is unimportant. Showers and baths are not taken on a daily basis and clothing tends to be wrinkled or dirty.
    • panic attacks - Anxiety takes control and there is an elevation in breathing, sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, light-headedness and a sense of dying.
    • sleep deprivation; insomnia - You may lay awake in bed during the early hours of the morning because the mind is racing faster than the body. You also toss and turn only to find that there is no comfortable position to fall asleep. The four walls feel as if they are closing in on you.
    • uncontrollable fatigue - One may lie in bed all day because the energy level is low. Lack of energy can cause you to lose your appetite, and throw you into a "sloth like" state.
    • the inability to focus on tasks - Your mind is unable to concentrate on your job because its focus is directed to your problems and your mood. Your mind will remain in this status as long as viable solutions are not found to help your situation.
    • digestive tract problems - You may become stricken with constipation or diarrhea. Each case will only lead to other health problems if not addressed. Constipation and diarrhea will be the first stages in causing major digestive problems.
    • an increased number of sick days - Due to lack of rest, you become unfit to go to work in the morning. Moreover, you do not go to work because that is the main source of the problem. No one wants to go to a place that causes him or her pain.
    • overwhelmed - You feel as if the weight of the world is upon your shoulders. Not only has your job performance dropped, but you have also lost control of your finances and personal life.
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    Pitfalls of Work Related Depression

    The pitfalls of work related depression include:

    • constant blunders on the job
    • the slow decay of co-worker and supervisor relationships
    • the sense of a hostile environment
    • the possibility of job termination
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    Self Help Tips to Manage Work Related Depression

    Here are some self help tips to gain control over work related depression:

    • Make a checklist of plans that you can set in motion to manage your life better.
    • Make an effort to discuss openly with your family members and supervisors the dilemma you are plagued with.
    • Set aside some "me" time during a part of the day which is most convenient for you.
    • Take a yoga class or meditate throughout the week.
    • Take care of yourself; an unhealthy person is a depressed person.
    • Do not use tobacco or alcohol to alleviate the problem; these products will only cause you more health problems.
    • If all else fails, seek professional help immediately so that you can be guided in the right direction.
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    Work Related Depression Symptoms Treated

    Once symptoms of work related depression are treated, a brighter future lies ahead. Your job performance will improve drastically, as well as your mental and physical health. You will gain clarity about your illness in order to function on a daily basis. Life will seem worth living. That feeling of loneliness will disappear.

    Knowing that there are other people out there going through the same struggle as you will give more insight on fighting this illness and becoming triumphant in the end. Structure and discipline will become a part of your life. Most importantly, your personal life will become stable. Do not let depression consume your life. You deserve to live a normal life just like everyone else.