May 23

How Depression Affects Work Performance

Depression is a serious and sometimes debilitating mental health condition that can affect nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, especially when left untreated. In fact, worldwide, depression is a leading cause for disability–and it’s a common condition. The National Alliance on Mental Alliance reports that one in five adults experiences depression each year. Major depression can impact a person’s personal life, but also their work performance and job. Depression or anxiety that persists for more than two weeks is likely cause for clinical concern. Knowing how major depressive disorder affects work will help you identify the signs, and hopefully, prompt you to seek treatment.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that negatively affects how you’re feeling, how you think, and even how you behave. Classified among mental health healthcare professionals as a mood disorder, depression can occur in various forms such as major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. Although each condition involves its own unique characteristics, they generally share common signs and symptoms that can include:

  • Feeling persistently sad or hopeless

  • Feeling irritable

  • Feeling helpless and overwhelmed

  • Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Reduced energy level 

  • Feeling unmotivated

  • Experiencing changes in appetite

  • Having difficulty concentrating

  • Losing interest in formerly enjoyed activities

  • Experiencing physical symptoms like headache or digestive problems

  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts

What Is Anxiety?

Like depression, clinical anxiety can also negatively impact a person’s life. Anxiety involves persistent worry, fear, and even panic and may occur on its own or with another mood disorder like depression. Signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Feeling nervous or tense

  • Increased heart rate

  • Catastrophizing thoughts

  • Feelings of impending doom or panic

  • Increased sweating and trembling

  • Trouble focusing / concentrating

  • Sleep problems

  • Digestive problems

How Does Depression and Anxiety Affect Your Ability to Work?

A person who experiences depression or anxiety cannot simply turn off their symptoms when they clock in for work. The symptoms accompany them wherever they go. A person feeling depressed and unmotivated doesn’t just experience a ‘bad day’ on the job. They experience a string of bad days that not only takes a further toll on their mental health, but also affects their work performance and, often, even their work colleagues. Anxiety, too, can negatively impact a person’s work performance. Here are just a few ways that these mental health disorders can affect work:

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Safety

Sleep disturbance, sometimes severe, are common symptoms of depression and anxiety. Without adequate sleep, especially for days on end, a person will suffer from reduced focus and even coordination. That can lead to seriously unsafe conditions if the individual is tasked to operate machinery or work in a potentially hazardous setting (i.e. work with chemicals, work at heights, etc…). 

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Missed Deadlines

A person who is depressed or anxious finds it hard to concentrate. That often manifests as reduced productivity. It may take an employee longer to complete tasks than usual or they may begin to miss deadlines because they can’t focus long enough to get their work completed on schedule.

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Increased Mistakes

When a person is not able to focus well, they’re apt to make more mistakes. A worker with anxiety and depression can’t focus fully on their job or the task at hand because they’re mind is caught up in the symptoms of their condition. While small mistakes might be overlooked for a while, they can add up and lead to poor work performance. Serious mistakes can even jeopardize a person’s employment. 

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Problems with Other Employees

Depression and anxiety can cause a person to experience skewed perceptions as well as increased irritability. This can lead to miscommunication and even unpleasant exchances that affect the culture of the work environment. A depressed or anxious person may find it impossible to hide their negativity from coworkers, which can also negatively impact the work setting and work relationships.

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Absenteeism

People suffering with depression and anxiety may experience symptoms that make it difficult to go to work. The emotional upheaval and associated symptoms may make it hard for them to commute to work or get through the day. Anxiety and depression can manifest in physical symptoms just as stress can. It’s not uncommon for sufferers to experience severe headaches and gastrointestinal complaints that require them to use sick time. 

What Does Depression and Anxiety Look Like to Coworkers?

Employers and other employees are not always likely to understand when someone they work with is suffering from depression or anxiety. They aren’t mental health specialists, so their impression of a depressed or anxious employee might include some of these perceptions:

  • Employee procrastinates too much 

  • Employee is lazy, undermotivated, or doesn’t care about their work/job

  • Employee is unsocial or withdrawn

  • Employee doesn’t seem to care about their appearance

  • Employee lacks confidence

  • Employee has poor communication skills

  • Employee is prone to accidents, missed deadlines, tardiness

Of course, when a suffering individual perceives that their coworkers or management feel these ways about them, it only increases their feelings of depression and anxiety, causing more exacerbation. Long work hours and depression can result in a worsening of symptoms too.

Employees, Mental Health, and Treatment

Unfortunately, many employees are apprehensive about discussing their mental health condition in the workplace. They may fear the stigma associated with these conditions and worry that their mental health will affect their job in some way. While there are protections for employees with health conditions, including mental health conditions, many people aren’t aware of them or still fear repercussions in the workplace. 

Employees like other citizens have a right to their medical privacy. They should also remember that their condition warrants treatment. In fact, without treatment, their condition can worsen. Today’s treatments for depression and anxiety are diverse and highly effective. Once conditions like depression and anxiety are well managed, their impact on an individual’s work performance will be reduced–even eliminated. 

TMS Treatment Elkridge, MD

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, you may be an ideal candidate for TMS therapy in Maryland. Gemini TMS specializes in TMS therapy and has helped thousands of sufferers successfully manage their condition and its symptoms. Standard treatments like medications don’t work for everyone suffering from these mental health conditions. Moreover, many patients find the side effects associated with some medications to be problematic. Fortunately, the medical community has developed other innovative methods like TMS for treating anxiety and depression. 

What Is TMS?

TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. According to Mayo Clinic, TMS is a noninvasive procedure used to treat depression and anxiety, particularly when other treatments have been ineffective or have caused discomfort for the patient. It’s also an FDA-approved treatment and requires no anesthesia. During TMS treatment, practitioners use magnetic fields to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells in order to alleviate unpleasant mental health symptoms. 

During TMS treatment sessions, an electromagnetic coil is placed near the patient’s head or scalp and delivers electromagnetic pulses to the part of the brain that controls mood. While researchers are still studying just how these pulses are able to achieve positive results, they do know that the signals ‘reactivate’ brain activity that had been less active before treatment. 

TMS therapy is painless and is regarded as a safe procedure. Most patients tolerate the procedure with ease. Some may experience side effects, including headache or some scalp discomfort. Procedures tend to last for about 40 minutes. It typically takes a couple weeks before patients notice improvement in their condition. TMS may also accompany other forms of treatment such as psychiatric therapy. 

How Gemini TMS Can Help You

Often, people who have clinical anxiety and depression don’t experience relief without some type of treatment. Patients who visit Gemini TMS for treatment have often found other forms of treatment ineffective or problematic in some way. Patients can visit us and our team of mental health experts can evaluate their condition to determine if TMS is an ideal treatment for their needs. 

If TMS is right for you, we can schedule your therapy, which will take place in sessions over the course of several weeks. Most patients begin to feel improvement early on in the TMS treatment process. We always encourage patients to tell us if they have any side effects like headache or lightheadedness. Again, these are common symptoms associated with the treatment but they generally subside. 

As an FDA-approved treatment for depression and anxiety, TMS treatments qualify for medical insurance plan coverage. If you have questions about your insurance coverage and the costs of treatment, be sure to get in touch with Gemini TMS to get answers you need.

If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, contact Gemini TMS to learn more about its TMS treatments and how they can help you manage your condition to prevent it from undermining your personal and professional life. It’s never a good idea to put off mental health treatment. At Gemini TMS, you can get the medical support and care you need to manage your depression or anxiety symptoms to experience profound relief. Call to schedule an evaluation today.


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