Mental Health Concerns in the Workplace
Mental health disorders often manifest themselves differently in the workplace than in social and family situations. As a result, mental health problems can be difficult to detect in professional and work contexts. Yet, an employee’s untreated depression or anxiety disorder can have a significant impact on colleague relationships and a company’s costs.
Symptoms at Work
- Depression. A common mood disorder in the population at large, depression can lead to a significant loss of productivity on the job. In the workplace, individuals with depression often become passive, exhibiting an inability to make decisions. Other behaviors may include a “fogginess”, poor judgement, and nervousness. Because sleep disturbances often accompany depression, fatigue at work is common. Employees with depression frequently complain of physical ailments and have a higher incidence of sick days than others. They are also more likely to lose their positions and change jobs regularly.
- Anxiety Disorders. Inability to concentrate on tasks, restlessness, and constant worry about work performance: these are ways an anxiety disorder may reveal itself in the workplace. Although individuals experiencing anxiety often consult healthcare professionals, it is often for other concerns, which could actually be related to the anxiety disorder (intestinal problems, for example). Only about ⅓ of individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder receive treatment for it. An anxiety disorder can lead to reduced productivity at work and absenteeism.
- Bipolar Disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder alternate between manic (high) and depressed states. Unlike normal mood swings, the cycles are intense and disruptive. During a manic episode, an individual may display excessive confidence on the job, leading to mistakes, poor judgement, and inappropriate risks. They may also disregard rules and blatantly push boundaries. During the depressed state, the elated impulsiveness fades and the fatigue and sets in–so much so that an individual may be too exhausted to get out of bed, resulting in missed days.
Mental Health and the Company
An untreated mental health condition can have a negative impact of an individual employee, but it can also affect a company’s costs and bottom line. An individual’s reduced productivity, impaired job performance, and chronic absenteeism can interfere with normal operations of the workplace and affect team building.
By encouraging treatment and investing in the mental health of its employees, companies can contribute to solid support system that not only helps individual team members, but also maintains a stable and productive workplace.
Consulting with Dr. Fieve
Living with a diagnosed disorder can be a challenge, but it is possible to manage symptoms and learn productive coping skills. Many people with mental health conditions have successful careers and satisfying work and personal relationships. If you are experiencing signs of a mental health disorder or have been diagnosed with one, it is important to seek professional care. Contact Dr. Fieve for a consultation.
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