Depression affects employees’ intellectual functioning; how to avoid it at workplace

Depression affects employees’ intellectual functioning; how to avoid it at workplace

Is keeping busy an antidote to depression? Yes, it is generally said. But it might not be true always. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, every year depression afflicts over 19 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 44, the most productive years in an adult’s life. Further, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that major depression accounted for 3.7 percent of all U.S. disability-adjusted life years.

There is more to depression than just the blues

Depression is a mood disorder which is mostly associated with feelings of sadness and worthlessness, social isolation and loss of pleasure in daily activities. More importantly, depression influences the way a person thinks.

At the workplace, it is common to find people who are less interested in their designated work or seem to be less productive over a course of time or show irregularities in arriving for work. Many a times, it could indicate that these individuals are suffering from clinical depression. People with this common, yet alarming, mental illness find it difficult to function normally. Their intellectual prowess is hampered due to this chronic condition.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, depression is not just about having a bad mood. A new South African research that studied 1,000 employed or previously employed workers revealed that 74 percent of the respondents who were suffering from depression reported experiencing one or more additional difficulties, such as trouble in concentrating, indecisiveness and forgetfulness. Among these problems, difficulty in concentrating affected about 50 percent of the participants.

“Depression affects cognitive functioning such as decision making, concentration, memory and problem solving abilities. Depression negatively impacts productivity. If an employee has depression, but is at work, they are 5 times less productive than an employee who was absent due to depression,” says Dr. Frans Korb, a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist.

Common cognitive symptoms of depression seen at workplace

Clinical depression is a common yet serious disorder resulting in a cost of more than $23 billion annually in lost productivity to the U.S. companies. It happens to be one of the top three workplace problems for employee assistance professionals, along with family crisis and stress.

A study of First Chicago Corporations observed that depressive disorders accounted for over 50 percent of all medical plan expenses paid for mental illnesses. The expenses were close to those spent on treatment for heart disease.

The symptoms of depression may include:

  • decreased productivity
  • poor concentration
  • lack of cooperation
  • getting distracted easily
  • indecisiveness
  • forgetfulness
  • absenteeism
  • problem solving difficulties
  • morale problems
  • frequent complaints of being tired and sick
  • alcohol and drug abuse

Employer’s support is integral

Depression can make employees spend more time in bed than at work. An employer’s role in treating depression is pivotal since this will help both the parties in the long run. By educating employees on depression and letting them know how the cognitive symptoms can impact their performance, thereby affecting their career, an employer can take the first step towards helping employees suffering from this illness.

Employers should also spread awareness about mental health disorders like depression, just as they do for other health problems like heart ailments or diabetes. Most importantly, when the employers come to know about an employee’s struggle with depression, they must refer the latter to a mental health care professional for proper counseling.

Professional assistance is always available

When left untreated, clinical depression can turn chronic and affect the ability of a person to act, behave and function properly. Thus, professional counseling from a mental health service provider is necessary.

If a loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder, like depression, get in touch with the Mental Health Helpline in Florida without any delay to know about the available treatments for mental health disorders in Florida. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online to get connected with one of the best rehab facilities in Florida.