Depression at Work


Depression at Work

By Jessica Burgess

Trying to work while depressed can often feel pointless. Being productive is difficult enough without adding on a state of depression. When depression goes untreated, it can lead to a loss of productivity. Depressed workers are more likely to be away from work than non-depressed individuals and also are less efficient at work based on a national survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association1. So do our jobs make us depressed? Or does our depression make us poor workers? Psychologists say yes and no.

Depression is not caused by our jobs, but our jobs can add to our depression. Depression is partially due to our hereditary predispositions2. To put it simply, some of the reason why we get depressed are due to the genes we inherit from our parents or grandparents. But not all people that inherit a risk for depression, end up depressed. Exhibiting depression may be due to environmental triggers, such as the workplace or other stressors.

As a result of certain triggers, many individuals exhibit depression which can have consequences in the work environment. In 2013, the leading cause of loss of productivity in the workplace was depression3. Some triggers that can lead to depression in the workplace are related to the workplace itself such as:

  • Work/life imbalance
  • Introvert/extrovert stress
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unclear guidance

Other causes may be more internal such as:

  • Guilt over being a working parent
  • Discomfort with those you work with3

Depression can limit how much we can get done at work and even how often we are at work. Similarly, work can trigger depression and make it worse.

If you believe you or someone you know is struggling with depression speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit





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