5 Ways Depression Affects Your Ability to Work

Depression is a diagnosable mental disorder. It impacts close to 300 million people — of all ages — across the globe. It impacts women more than men, is the leading cause of disability, and can result in suicide. Depression also affects your ability to work in a variety of ways.

Because depression is so serious and common, let’s begin with an overview.

Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is a condition with many variations. Some examples include:

  • Clinical Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Psychotic Depression

Each of these (and other) variations can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. They present a wide range of symptoms, most commonly:

  • Loss of focus
  • Restlessness, irritability, and agitation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Digestive issues, weight loss or gain
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, or guilt
  • Inability to enjoy once-pleasure activities
  • Lashing out at and/or withdrawing from loved ones
  • Not being able to see any positive solutions
  • Fixating on death and dying
  • Suicidal thoughts

5 Ways Depression Affects Your Ability to Work

1. Communication

Take a look at that symptom list above. Now imagine trying to engage in productive, healthy communication under such conditions. Unfortunately, communication is usually a requirement for any work situation. It helps to find a work ally to confide in.

2. Cognitive Function

Depression impacts your thinking in many ways. You could feel overwhelmed, negative, confrontational, withdrawn, or foggy-headed. Any or all of these characteristics can’t help but affect your work performance. If you’ve been prescribed medication for your depression, that can lead to another set of side effects. Don’t let this situation be misinterpreted as a bad attitude on your part. If your company offers mental health resources, take advantage of them.

3. Misplaced Blame

Each and every one of us has endured a stressful work experience. Such jobs can make anyone feel depressed. They can also lead to depression-like symptoms. Do not automatically assume your symptoms are “just” related to work. If you think you may be dealing with depression, see a trained professional for a diagnosis.

4. Cost

You might be in a supervisory or ownership position. This means you have to perpetually keep one eye on some numbers. Depression — whether it’s you or an employee or both — can put a major strain on the bottom line. This is yet another reason to not delay getting (or offering) help. Obviously, human health is the top priority but that doesn’t change financial reality.impact .

5. Employee Relations

Every workplace relies on a delicate balance of teamwork, hierarchy, and social interactions. The presence of a depressed coworker isn’t always obvious. You may be mistakenly perceived as being lazy or subordinate. Before that delicate balance can be threatened, it is essential that you talk to someone on the job and you talk to someone in a therapeutic setting (see below).

Therapy for Depression

There are many proven treatment options for depression. For example, medication was mentioned above. To start, therapy is an excellent and less invasive option and a path I highly recommend — especially when you find depression negatively affecting your work situation.

I use an approach called cognitive-behavioral therapy. This is a short-term goal-oriented approach that aims to change your pattern of thinking and associated behaviors connected to those thoughts. Working together with you I look at the way your thoughts and attitudes that you have about different issues impact your behaviors. Once you understand the connection it becomes easier for you to cope with the depressive symptoms. Reach out today for more information!

For more information on depression treatment click here.