Signs That Your Depression Is Affecting Your Ability to Work
Depression affects over 40 million adults in the United States and is considered the nation’s most common mental disorder. Many sufferers are able to control their illness with medication, therapy, and other treatments. However, for those who suffer from a major depressive disorder, controlling their symptoms isn’t an option. In fact, some sufferers experience “lows” that can drastically affect their daily life, including their ability to work.
Characteristics of Depressive Episodes
According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 16.1 million suffered at least one large-scale depressive episode in 2015. “Low” periods or major depressive episodes are classified as long periods of time where the victim experiences a loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in his ability to function. These symptoms can include the following, all of which can affect the sufferer’s ability to function at home and at work:
- Insomnia. Inability to fall asleep due to paranoia, excessive thinking, fear, guilt, or sadness.
- Loss of appetite. Inability to keep food down or a lack of interest in eating due to guilt, forgetfulness, or nausea brought on by the emotional state.
- Loss of social skills. Inability to function in social groups due to nervousness, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating.
- Fatigue and lack of motivation. Inability to stay awake, move, or be productive due to a lack of energy and concentration, or caused by a worrisome mind too tired to focus.
- Emotional outbursts. Inability to control feelings or emotions. When victims of a depressive episode become overwhelmed by mental and physical exhaustion, an unpredictable emotional outburst can occur. These outbursts can vary from fits of rage to uncontrollable hysteria, to inconsolable bouts of sobbing—all of which can disrupt a work environment.
Causes of Depressive Episodes
A depressive episode can be frightening for all those involved—you as well as the people around you. Unfortunately, depression isn’t something you can just turn off from nine-to-five and deal with in the safety and privacy of your own home. An episode can occur out of nowhere, and the more stressful the situation, the worse the effects.
Although no one can predict what may set off an episode or when an episode may occur, there are certain triggers that can make a person with depression more susceptible to losing control. These triggers include:
- High-stress environments. Chaotic situations and fast-paced environments can easily overwhelm the senses. If you have depression, your senses are already overloaded. Therefore, additional stress can push you over the edge.
- Job anxiety. Everyone has experienced anxiety over the thought of losing their job at some point or another. However, if you suffer from depression, obsessing over potential disasters is common. Unfortunately, obsessing leads to increased anxiety, which exacerbates the condition, and ultimately increase the chance of an episode and the risk of being terminated. In other words, it’s a never-ending circle of cause and effect.
- Financial anxiety. Along with job anxiety comes financial anxiety. If your depression causes you to worry about your job security, it’ll inevitably cause you to worry about your financial stability. The added stress of worrying about money will further irritate your condition and increase your inability to function.
Regrettably, in addition to being present in most working environments, these three triggers are also the catalysts for depression sufferers to be unable to work. In fact, the Social Security Administration recognizes severe cases of depression as worthy of disability assistance as a result of decreased functionality. Therefore, if you find yourself struggling to maintain a reliable and productive employee status due to your depression, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits.
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