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Identifying Depression In The Workplace Essay

2256 words - 10 pages

An employee, who is usually a pleasant, focused and cooperative worker begins to show signs of some changes in their demeanor. They exhibit negative attitudes and behaviors toward coworkers. People show signs of discomfort when the negative worker is around and are more at ease when they are not present. The employee’s attendance starts to become a problem. They arrive late and miss days at work, calling in sick more frequently. The employee seems to have trouble concentrating. The worker may be descending into an emotional tailspin. The condition of malaise that may be experienced could very well be depression. "Depressive disorders represent one of the most common behavioral health ...view middle of the document...

Temporary gloom and a sense of despair may also be felt. A person may say that they are depressed, when they actually have a case of the "blues," but they will generally face the problem, figure out a way to deal with it, and move on. Sadness as an emotion has a purpose. According to psychologist, Dr. Daniel Goleman, "A main function for sadness is to help one adjust to significant loss, such as the death of someone close or some major disappointment. Sadness brings a drop in energy and enthusiasm for life’s activities." When sadness deepens and it approaches depression, the body’s metabolism actually slows down.

Depression and the Workplace

"The experience of some degree of depression is universal." Some common forms of depression include: burnout, dysthymia, adjustment disorder, and major or clinical depression.

Burnout is a result of being overworked and exhausted on a job or in one’s personal life. It may include feelings of frustration or alienation. Those who are burned out may exhibit disruptive, cynical and hypercritical behavior. They may withdraw and become antisocial or begin to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Dysthymia, a Greek word, meaning, "ill humored", is a relatively new term from psychology and occupational medicine. This condition often emerges slowly and is not readily noticed but becomes more discernible with increases in time and increased stress. The symptoms are complex and may include low energy, lack of enthusiasm, low self-esteem and a general lack of concentration. This condition affects about 4 percent of the population. It usually starts before a person’s 30th birthday and affects women more often then men. The disorder tends to be chronic. A number of sufferers are liable to deny their problem through working extra hard or acting excessively aggressive.

Adjustment disorder, the most common form of work place depression, is estimated to effect about one-fourth of all workers. They find it difficult to adjust to the stressful changes occurring in the post-modern workplace. For example, employees may find it particularly challenging to keep pace with the rapidly changing computer age and technology.

"Depression is seldom traceable to a single cause." Some of the factors that may lead to depression in the public sector are stressors like: "repetitive work activities, expectations of extra effort with minimal rewards, policy changes too frequently to be evaluated, high instance of work overload and minimal emphasis on positive feedback." "In public organizations, stress is especially likely in situations of role conflict or role ambiguity." "Role conflict occurs when the rights and responsibilities of the job are not clearly understood. Likewise, role ambiguity occurs when one faces two different and incompatible sets of demands." The continued experience of stress and adjustment disorder may lead to a more serious form of depression. The most serious form of mental depression is called a major or...

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