Handling Depression at Work

Devising a depression treatment plan to get you up and out every morning can make dealing with work a lot easier.

Has daily gloom become part of your daily grind? Of the nearly 19 million American adults with a depressive disorder, almost 90 percent of them say that their illness has affected their ability to do their job.

That’s because when you have depression, it can be challenging to just get out of bed in the morning, much less go to work.

"There are different levels of depression," says Julie Walther Scheibel, MEd, a counselor at Concordia Seminary Counseling and Resource Center in St. Louis. "Some people are so depressed that they quit work."

With the right treatment plan, you probably will be able to manage working while undergoing depression treatment, and maybe even look forward to it.

Depression: Symptoms That Could Affect Work

Depression symptoms can affect every aspect of your life, and symptoms that are more likely to cause difficulty at work include:

  • Crying frequently
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Irritable mood
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Pessimism or lack of caring
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions

Depression: Making Work Easier

When your depression makes getting up and going to work difficult, you might want to enlist a friend or family member who can help motivate you.

"You need to have a spouse or someone else check in with you periodically to make sure you get going during the day," says Walther Scheibel.

While you are at work, it is important to:

  • Take regular breaks. Stepping back from work and doing something that relaxes you, like meditating or listening to music, can help you cope with stress.
  • Stay in touch. Make regular phone calls during the day to friends and family, since staying in contact with someone you trust can give you perspective on what really matters and keep you focused on getting better.
  • Take baby steps. When you are working on a project that seems overwhelming, break it into multiple steps, and complete them one at a time.
  • Stick with your depression treatment. Take your medications and attend your counseling sessions to ease the depression symptoms that are making it difficult for you to function.

Walther Scheibel also recommends finding things to do outside of work that relax you and bring you pleasure, such as regularly exercising, practicing relaxation techniques like yoga, journaling, playing an instrument, or taking an art class — "things that soothe the mind," as she calls them.

She also recommends getting involved in activities that make you feel productive outside of work, such as volunteering, helping family members or friends, or taking classes to develop new skills.

Depression: Telling Co-Workers

Whether to tell co-workers about your depression is your decision. But if you need to take time off to focus on your depression treatment or if you need special accommodations at work, you’ll probably have to tell your supervisor or human resources department about your illness.

And it is an illness: There is no reason to be ashamed of your depression. When talking to a supervisor, focus on the positive aspects of your discussion, such as how the special accommodations will make you more productive.

Keep in mind that the most important thing is to take care of you. When you are putting yourself first, your ability to work will improve, too.

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Original article: http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/managing/bad-days-at-the-office.aspx

More Emotional Health...

Devising a depression treatment plan to get you up and out every morning can make dealing with work a lot easier.

Has daily gloom become part of your daily grind? Of the nearly 19 million American adults with a depressive disorder, almost 90 percent of them say that their illness has affected their ability to do their job.

That’s because when you have depression, it can be challenging to just get out of bed in the morning, much less go to work.

"There are different levels of depression," says Julie Walther Scheibel, MEd, a counselor at Concordia Seminary Counseling and Resource Center in St. Louis. "Some people are so depressed that they quit work."

With the right treatment plan, you probably will be able to manage working while undergoing depression treatment, and maybe even look forward to it.

Depression: Symptoms That Could Affect Work

Depression symptoms can affect every aspect of your life, and symptoms that are more likely to cause difficulty at work include:

  • Crying frequently
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Irritable mood
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Pessimism or lack of caring
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions

Depression: Making Work Easier

When your depression makes getting up and going to work difficult, you might want to enlist a friend or family member who can help motivate you.

"You need to have a spouse or someone else check in with you periodically to make sure you get going during the day," says Walther Scheibel.

While you are at work, it is important to:

  • Take regular breaks. Stepping back from work and doing something that relaxes you, like meditating or listening to music, can help you cope with stress.
  • Stay in touch. Make regular phone calls during the day to friends and family, since staying in contact with someone you trust can give you perspective on what really matters and keep you focused on getting better.
  • Take baby steps. When you are working on a project that seems overwhelming, break it into multiple steps, and complete them one at a time.
  • Stick with your depression treatment. Take your medications and attend your counseling sessions to ease the depression symptoms that are making it difficult for you to function.

Walther Scheibel also recommends finding things to do outside of work that relax you and bring you pleasure, such as regularly exercising, practicing relaxation techniques like yoga, journaling, playing an instrument, or taking an art class — "things that soothe the mind," as she calls them.

She also recommends getting involved in activities that make you feel productive outside of work, such as volunteering, helping family members or friends, or taking classes to develop new skills.

Depression: Telling Co-Workers

Whether to tell co-workers about your depression is your decision. But if you need to take time off to focus on your depression treatment or if you need special accommodations at work, you’ll probably have to tell your supervisor or human resources department about your illness.

And it is an illness: There is no reason to be ashamed of your depression. When talking to a supervisor, focus on the positive aspects of your discussion, such as how the special accommodations will make you more productive.

Keep in mind that the most important thing is to take care of you. When you are putting yourself first, your ability to work will improve, too.

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

Original article: http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/managing/bad-days-at-the-office.aspx

Were you really grumpy when you lost power during Hurricane Sandy? If so, you may be more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years down the road than those who took the superstorm in stride.

While the widespread perception has always been that stress induces a vast array of health problems -- everything from anxiety to fatigue -- researchers from Penn State University say that it's actually the way people react to potentially stressful situations that determines whether they will suffer adverse health effects in the future.

"Our research shows that how you react to what happens in your life today predicts your chronic health conditions and 10 years in the future, independent of your current health and your future stress," said David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State. "For example, if you have a lot of work to do today and you are really grumpy because of it, then you are more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years from now than someone who also has a lot of work to do today, but doesn't let it bother her."

Using a subset of those participating in the MIDUS (Midlife in the United States) study funded by the National Institute on Aging, Almeida and others investigated the relationships among stressful events in daily life, people's reactions to those events and their health issues 10 years later.

The researchers talked to 2,000 people by phone for eight nights in a row about what had happened to them in the past 24 hours. They asked about each person's use of time, their moods, their health and the stressful events they had experienced.

"Most social-science surveys are based on long retrospective accounts of your life in the past month or maybe the past week," Almeida said. "By asking people to focus just on the past 24 hours, we were able to capture a particular day in someone's life. Then, by studying consecutive days, we were able to see the ebb and flow of their daily experiences."

Researchers surveyed MIDUS participants from 1995 and 2005, giving them a real long-term look at how experiences that were occurring 10 years ago were related to present health issues.

According to Almeida, certain types of people are more likely to experience stress in their lives. Younger people, for example, have more stress than older people; people with higher cognitive abilities have more stress than people with lower cognitive abilities; and people with higher levels of education have more stress than people with less education.

"What is interesting is how these people deal with their stress," said Almeida. "Our research shows that people age 65 and up tend to be more reactive to stress than younger people, likely because they aren't exposed to a lot of stress at this stage in their lives, and they are out of practice in dealing with it. Younger people are better at dealing with it because they cope with it so frequently. Likewise, our research shows that people with lower cognitive abilities and education levels are more reactive to stress than people with higher cognitive abilities and education levels, likely because they have less control over the stressors in their lives."

While stress may be a symptom that a person's life is filled with hardship, it could also simply mean that the person is involved in a whole host of activities and experiences.

"If this is the case, reducing exposure to stressors isn't the answer," said Almeida. "We just need to figure out how to manage them better."

By Shelley Emling
Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/national-stress-awareness-day_n_2082186.html

For millions of people, chronic illnesses and depression are facts of life. A chronic illness is a condition that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely, although some illnesses can be controlled through diet, exercise, and certain medications. Examples of chronic illnesses include diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.

Many people with chronic illness experience depression. In fact, depression is one of the most common complications of chronic illness. It is estimated that up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression.

It is not hard to identify the cause and effect relationship between chronic illness and depression. Serious illness can cause tremendous changes in lifestyle, and limit an individual’s mobility and independence.  Chronic illness may make it impossible to pursue the activities one enjoys and  can undermine self-confidence and a sense of hope in the future. It is not surprising, then, that people with chronic illness often experience a certain amount of despair and sadness. In some cases, the physical effects of the illness itself or side effects of medication may also lead to depression.

Chronic Illness and Depression: What Chronic Conditions Trigger Depression?

Although any illness can trigger depressed feelings, the risk of chronic illness and depression increases with the severity of the illness and the level of life disruption it causes. The risk of getting depression is generally 10-25% for women and 5-12% for men. However, those with chronic illnesses face a much higher risk -- between 25-33%.

Depression caused by chronic disease often aggravates the condition, especially if the illness causes pain and fatigue, or limits a person’s ability to interact with others. Depression can intensify pain, as well as fatigue and sluggishness. The combination of chronic illness and depression also can cause people to isolate themselves, which is likely to exacerbate the depression.

Research on chronic illnesses and depression indicates that depression rates are high among patients with chronic conditions:

  • Heart attack: 40%-65% experience depression
  • Coronary artery disease (without heart attack): 18%-20% experience depression
  • Parkinson's disease: 40% experience depression
  • Multiple sclerosis: 40% experience depression
  • Stroke: 10%-27% experience depression
  • Cancer: 25% experience depression
  • Diabetes: 25% experience depression
  • Chronic pain syndrome:  30%-54% experience depression

Chronic Illness and Depression: What Are the Symptoms?

In people with chronic illnesses and depression, patients themselves and their family members often overlook the symptoms of depression assuming that feeling sad is normal for someone struggling with disease. Symptoms of depression are also frequently masked by other medical problems, resulting in treatment for the symptoms -- but not the underlying depression. When both chronic illnesses and depression are present, it is extremely important to treat both at the same time.

Chronic Illness and Depression: Treatment Options

Treatment of depression in chronically ill patients is similar to treatment of depression in other people. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce distress as well as the risk of complications and suicide for those with chronic illness and depression.  In many patients, depression treatment can produce an improvement in the patient’s overall medical condition, a better quality of life, and a greater likelihood of sticking to a long-term treatment plan.

If the depressive symptoms are related to the physical illness or the side effects of medication, treatment may need to be adjusted or changed. When the depression is a separate problem, it can be treated on its own. More than 80% of people with depression can be treated successfully with medicine, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Antidepressant drugs usually begin to have a positive effect within a matter of weeks. It is important to work closely with a physician or psychiatrist to find the most effective medication.

Tips for Coping With Chronic Illnesses and Depression

Depression, disability, and chronic illness form a vicious cycle. Chronic medical conditions can bring on bouts of depression, which, in turn interfere with successful treatment of the disease.

Living with a chronic illness is a tremendous challenge, and periods of grief and sadness are to be expected as you come to grips with your condition and its implications. But if you find that your depression persists or that you are having trouble sleeping or eating or have lost interest in the activities you normally enjoy, it is important to seek help. 

Some tips to help you cope with chronic illness and avoid depression:

  • Try not to isolate yourself. Reach out to family and friends. If you don’t have a solid support system, take steps to build one. Ask your physician or therapist for referrals to a support group and other community resources.
  • Learn as much as you can about your condition. Knowledge is power when it comes to getting the best treatment available and maintaining a sense of autonomy and control.
  • Make sure that you have medical support from experts you trust and can talk to openly about your ongoing questions and concerns.
  • If you suspect that your medication is causing you to be depressed, consult your doctor about alternative treatments.
  • If you are in chronic pain, talk with your physician about alternative pain management.
  • As much as is possible, remain engaged in the activities you enjoy. Doing so will keep you connected as well as boost your self-confidence and sense of community.
  • If you become depressed, don’t wait too long before seeking help. Find a therapist or counselor whom you trust.
By: WEB MD/
Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 12, 2012
 

 

Need to find some calm in your chaotic life? Learn how to manage stress in easy, quick ways. Learn 4 easy tips to make this possible

  1. Get Active! Any form of physical activity can be a great stress reliever. Exercising releases feel-good endorphins and can help to enhance your sense of well-being. Try adding in a quick walk, jog, bike, swim, or anything else into your daily routine.
  2. Laugh More! Laughing can cause positive physical changes in your body. Laughing fires up and then cools your stress response.
  3.  Connect with others! To get over stress don’t got it alone! Reach out to friends and family to get through the hard times. Having social contact can give you a distraction, provide support, and help overcome ups and downs. Get lunch with a friend, call a family member, or go volunteer!
  4. Assert Yourself! Don’t try to do it all…. All that will do is cause more stress! Learn to say “no” or to manage all your tasks by delegating and making lists.

To learn more on how to manage stress, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relievers/art-20047257