You are not alone if you experience work depression. Sadness, worry, loss of motivation, difficulty concentrating, inexplicable episodes of weeping, and boredom are just a few of the symptoms you may be experiencing at work if you are having depressive symptoms.
Every year, millions of individuals are affected by work depression.
People who took the survey’s depression screen increased by 62%, and 8 out of 10 tested positive for symptoms of moderate to severe work depression.
When you consider that full-time employees spend an average of 8.5 hours a day working on weekdays and 5.5 hours working on weekends and holidays, it’s no wonder that many of them will feel signs of work depression.
Continue reading to learn why work may create depressed symptoms, how to recognise the symptoms, where to get treatment, and what to do to start feeling better.
What Is Work Depression?
While work does not cause depression, the environment can exacerbate symptoms in those who already suffer from depression.
Depending on the degree of stress and accessible assistance, every workplace or employment might be a possible cause or a contributing factor to work depression.
A poor work environment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), can result in:
- Concerns about emotional and physical health
- lowered productivity
- increasing usage of substances
According to Mental Health America, depression is one of the top three workplace concerns for employee support specialists.
As with any other health problem, early identification and awareness are critical.
Depression is a complicated illness with a wide range of manifestations of thoughts, feelings, and behaviour that may impact anyone and everyone. When we examine someone suffering from workplace depression, several job and non-work-related variables may be at play.
What Are The Signs Of Work Depression?
Workplace depression symptoms are comparable to general depressed symptoms. However, some may appear more particular to a workplace context.
This work depression will have an impact on your ability to perform at work and home.
The following are some of the most prevalent symptoms of work depression:
- increased anxiety, mainly when dealing with complex events or thinking about work when you’re not at work, general feelings of boredom and apathy about your job
- low energy and drive to accomplish things, which can occasionally appear as task boredom
- Feelings of melancholy or depression that last for a long time.
- lack of interest in job activities, particularly those that you previously considered fascinating and rewarding
- despair, helplessness, worthlessness, or crushing guilt
- failure to focus or pay attention to job duties, as well as difficulty keeping or remembering things, particularly new knowledge, making numerous errors in regular work tasks, and an increase or reduction in weight or hunger
- physical symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, and stomach discomfort
- increasing absenteeism, late arrivals, and early departures
- reduced ability to make decisions
- impatience, heightened rage, and a low tolerance for frustration
- sobbing fits or tearfulness at work, with or without apparent triggers
- Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively (like taking naps during regular work hours)
- self-medication with alcohol or drugs
These indications of work depression may be invisible to your coworkers if you are skilled at hiding or internalising them. However, there are some signs that they are more likely to detect. Here are some of the most frequent symptoms of work depression to be aware of:
- withdrawing or isolating oneself from other individuals
- Poor self-care or a dramatic change in appearance, tardiness to work, missing meetings, or absences
- Procrastination, missed deadlines, decreased productivity, poor work performance, increased mistakes, or trouble making decisions are examples of procrastination.
- seeming apathy, forgetfulness, detachment, and disinterest in things
- a weary appearance for the majority or a portion of the day (maybe taking afternoon naps at work)
- annoyance, rage, feeling overwhelmed or being too emotional during talks (may start crying suddenly or become tearful over trivial things)
- a lack of self-assurance when trying activities
Why Might You Be Depressed At Work?
There are several reasons why you may be experiencing an increase in work depression symptoms. While no two people — or situations — are alike, specific similar patterns appear to emerge when identifying the reasons or triggers of indications of work depression.
While this is not a complete list, the following circumstances may lead to work depression:
- having the impression that you have no control over work-related concerns
- Working in a toxic workplace might make you feel as though your employment is in peril.
- overworking or underpaying
- being subjected to workplace harassment or discrimination
- working erratic hours
- a lack of harmony between work and home
- working in an environment that does not reflect your personal beliefs
- performing work that does not advance your career
- working in poor or hazardous situations
What Can You Do If You Feel Depressed While Working?
Managing symptoms at work can be difficult no matter where you work. The good news is that there are things you can do if you are depressed:
- Take a 10-minute break from your workstation or workplace.
- Take a lunch break and get some fresh air.
- Take a brief stroll during a break – even if it’s indoors, exercise is beneficial to mental health.
- Take a day for your mental wellness.
- Spend a few minutes practising mindfulness meditation.
- Include deep breathing exercises in your daily routine.
- Say no to one small item that will help you to feel less stressed during the day.
- Watch a funny video.
What Are Common Risk Factors For Depression At Work?
Some of the risk factors for work depression include:
- contemptuous managers
- Unbalanced effort-reward
- Politics at work
- workplace slander
- Bullying in the workplace
- high job requirements
- low decision-making latitude
- lack of social support in the job.
- unjustified expectations
- overburdening workload
- unclear or unmanaged roles at work
A poor job fit and a lack of attention on work-life balance can cause physical suffering, leading to burnout.
Excessively lengthy shifts of 10 to 12 hours or more and shifts at odd hours of the day that disturb routines and sleep habits are additional risk factors.
According to a 2019 study, shift workers, particularly females, are at a higher risk of poor mental health, notable signs of sadness.
How Is Depression Related To Work Treated?
Don’t hesitate to get treatment if you see a relationship between your depression symptoms and your job. Talking with your immediate supervisor or boss is an excellent place to start if you feel supported by them.
A change in job or location within an office or company can sometimes help alleviate symptoms.
You can also inquire with your company’s human resources department to see if it offers an employee support programme. This is a work-based programme that provides mental health assistance for personal and professional issues.
For treating depression outside of the workplace, a mix of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes is frequently suggested.
Employers and coworkers can play an essential role in detecting a high-risk individual.
It is critical to foster a workplace culture of raising knowledge and decreasing the stigma associated with mental health issues so that afflicted employees are encouraged to seek assistance freely and without prejudice when required.
A 2014 study discovered that uniformly administered workplace mental health interventions — especially cognitive-behavioural health-based programmes — can lower the prevalence of depressive symptoms among workers.
With this in mind, managers, supervisors, and employees can be trained to initiate such conversations with people in need of assistance and to support them in their pursuit of timely care.
The Bottom Line
Experiencing depressive symptoms at work might be stressful. The first step toward getting assistance recognises symptoms such as worry, crying, boredom, and loss of interest.
If you’re worried about work depression, talk to your boss or the human resources department. They may be able to assist you in locating a counsellor through an employee assistance programme.
You can also get help from a therapist or psychologist. Remember that you are not alone. Make an appointment with a medical or mental health professional if you are not ready to reach out at work.