Depression in the Workplace: Tips for Managers

Image for depression at work articleDepression is a mental illness characterized by feelings of profound sadness and lack of interest in enjoyable activities. It may cause a wide range of symptoms, both physical and emotional. Depression is not the same as a blue mood, nor is it a personal weakness; it is a major, but treatable illness. Depression can last for weeks, months, or years. People with depression may recover without treatment. However, the longer depression lasts and the more times it recurs, the more likely it is that treatment will prove necessary.

What Causes Depression?

The precise cause of depression is not known. Causes may be genetic, mental, physical, or environmental, including:
  • Stressful life events
  • Chronic stress
  • Low self-esteem
  • Imbalances in brain chemicals and hormones
  • Lack of control over circumstances
  • Negative thought patterns and beliefs
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic disease
  • Heart disease and heart surgery

What Are the Symptoms of Depression in the Workplace?

Symptoms of depression are highly variable from person to person. Some people have only a few symptoms, while others have many. Symptoms may also vary over time. In the workplace, symptoms of depression often may be recognized by:
  • Decreased productivity
  • Morale problems
  • New difficulties with coworkers
  • Lack of cooperation
  • Absenteeism
  • Frequent statements about being tired all the time
  • Problems with concentration
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

What Are the Treatment Options?

Treatment of depression usually includes medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. The medications help relieve symptoms, while psychotherapy helps employees learn more effective ways of dealing with problems or identifying and resolving the conflicts contributing to their depression.

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