Job Stress may Make you Depressed

Job Stress may Make you Depressed

Suppose one day you're getting out of your car to go to work. Suddenly, your chest feels tight. Your heart may race. You begin to feel dizzy and faint. You start to choke. You feel as if the end is near. Was it all in your head? No. Most likely, you had a panic attack.


Panic attacks last about 5 to 30 minutes and may include any of the symptoms like ;dizziness or lightheadedness ,sweating ,highly tense ,anxious, trembling or shaking extreme fear of losing control, doing something embarrassing, going "crazy" or dying... Panic attacks can lead to phobias if they aren't treated.

More than 50% of workers in industrialized countries complain today about stress in the workplace. Job stress and overwork have been associated with sleep disturbance and depression. There is enough scientific evidence to suggest that prolonged exposure to job stress is associated with several types of chronic health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, particularly hypertension, and musculoskeletal and psychological disorders. In the USA, for example, expenditure on health care is nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress at work.

A study in early 2003 found unfair bosses are a potent workplace stressor, which could have a negative effect on employees’ heart health – specifically by raising their blood pressure.2 This U.K. study examined female healthcare assistants and the effects of working under two different bosses – one perceived as fair, the other as unfair. Employees experienced significantly higher blood pressure when working with the "unfair" boss.

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long-term exposure to demanding work situations. Burnout is the cumulative result of stress. Stress may also contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, overeating, and lack of exercise, which can lead to heart disease. Stress is a greater concern, however, for people who already have heart disease. People with heart disease may experience chest pain when they are under stress. Also, if you have clogged arteries, your heart may not get the extra blood it needs during stress. This may lead to inadequate oxygen levels in your heart.

You may be more prone to burnout if:

Personal problems have always initiated depression at one point in life and can usually be handled. However with increase in job-related stress today, personal life crisis becomes harder to handle. For the most part, the job stress is not transient; it becomes prolonged, leading to persistent anxiety and eventually depression. Unfortunately, with increase job stress and intense pressure to produce more work with less staffing, reactive job depression is going to be the number one job related illness for a long time.

It has also been noted that physicians tend to neglect their own need for psychiatric, emotional, or medical help and are more critical than most people of both others and themselves. They are more likely to blame themselves for their own illnesses. And they are apparently more susceptible to depression caused by adverse life events, such as the death of a relative, divorce, or the loss of a job.

The source of depression often lies far beyond the office. Conflicts at home, the loss of a loved one, or a fight with a friend can sink the mood of the happiest employee. But for many people, emotional distress is truly an occupational hazard. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), one out of four Americans say their job is the most stressful part of their lives. It isn't always just run-of-the-mill, teeth-gnashing, pencil-breaking stress, either. Many studies link job strain to a wide range of illnesses, including heart disease, back pain, ulcers, and, yes, depression.

For workers of both sexes, high stress on and off the job was associated with depression. About one in 12 working Canadians, or more than one million people, said they were unhappy on the job, and depression is a major occupational health issue.

Being single and not having children have also been linked to an increased risk of suicide, and more female than male physicians are single or childless. Some studies of coping have emphasized that women in general are subject to a double burden — being vulnerable to pressures of both family life and work life. Stress and burnout may be added risk factors for all physicians, and female doctors may feel more stress than their male counterparts because of the difficulty of succeeding in a male-dominated profession.

Moreover, our happiness tends to stem less from enduring good fortune than from our responses to daily events, an A on an exam, a gratifying letter, your teams’ winning the big game. Everyday hassles may be the largest sources of stress. Daily hassles include, rush hour traffic, aggravating roommates, long lines at the store or bank, too many things to do, and misplacing things. Although some people can simply shrug them off, others are driven up the wall by such hassles. In fact, 6 in 10 people say they feel great stress at least once a week.

At many points during life, everybody faces choices: where to live, what school to attend, what job to take. According to a study; data suggested that women who faced everyday work stress were particularly vulnerable to symptoms of anxiety and increased alcohol consumption. They used three measures of workplace stress: lack of decision making authority on the job, sexual harassment, and generalized workplace abuse, such as disrespectful behavior and isolation or exclusion.

It is well known that stress hormones modulate immune function and influence the class of the immune response by their ability to increase the expression of some cytokines and decrease the expression of others .Acute stress enhances this response to delayed-type hypersensitivity. Chronic stress impairs delayed-type hypersensitivity, with the result that the blood is depleted of fewer lymphocytes. The greater the impairment of delayed-type hypersensitivity, the less the blood is depleted of lymphocytes (responsible for immune system).

Stress triggers a "fear center" in the amygdala sector of the brain that takes over emotions and affects thinking. Usually, when a stressful event occurs, our body's response to it fades away. Combined with depression, the chemical imbalance in the brain holds onto the stress, keeping the feelings active. And it gets worse.

Brain imaging scans have shown those who suffer from long-term stress may fail to feel any positive feelings in the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that maintains and originates emotions. When that depressed brain is "rewired," dread and fear can flow unimpeded from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex.

Several studies are now suggesting that job-related stress is as great a threat to health as smoking or not exercising. Stress impairs concentration, causes sleeplessness, and increases the risk for illness, back problems, accidents, and lost time from work. Work stress can lead to harassment or even violence while on the job. At its most extreme, chronic stress places a burden on the heart and circulation that in some cases may be fatal. The Japanese even have a word for sudden death due to overwork, karoushi.

Heart attack patients will feel a wide range of emotions, typically for about two to six months after the event. Depression is quite normal, along with fear and anger. For example, every time you feel a little pain, you may feel afraid it’s going to happen again — afraid you’re going to die. Although depression is normal after a heart attack, if it interferes with sleeping, eating, self esteem, or if you have thoughts of suicide. The magnitude of cardiac dysfunction induced by the speaking task was similar to that induced by exercise. Personally relevant mental stress may be an important precipitant of myocardial ischemia--often silent--in patients with coronary artery disease.

For many people, a large chunk of their lives is devoted to work. Depression affects not only a person's health, but also his or her ability to work. Employees who are depressed are less productive and are absent more often. Other studies have shown that organized screening and enhanced depression treatment can significantly improve health.

"Introducing stress reduction strategies in the workplace could be a valuable tool for employers who are keen to tackle anxiety levels in high pressure roles and increase job satisfaction," study confirmed.

Researchers found that among more than 24,000 working Canadian adults, nearly 5 percent had suffered from major depression in the past year. Those under heavy stress at work appeared to be at particular risk, according to findings in the American Journal of Public Health.

A number of studies have found health risks associated with chronic job stress, including high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as depression. However, the depression studies have been limited to either certain occupations or single companies, noted Dr. Emma Robertson Blackmore, the lead author of the new study and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical School in New York.

This study confirms and extends past research; she told Reuters Health, because it looked at a large, general population and used more-stringent criteria to gauge participants' depression.

Past studies have relied on questionnaire responses. Participants in the current study underwent diagnostic interviews for depression. Overall, Robertson Blackmore and her colleagues found, men who reported high job strain were more than twice as likely to suffer depression as men who were low on the job-strain scale. "High job strain" is defined as work that is demanding but leaves people little independence or decision-making authority.

Among women, the picture was somewhat different. Only one component of job strain -- lack of decision-making authority -- was related to depression. It's not clear why this difference between men and women emerged, Robertson Blackmore said, but it may have to do with the types of jobs many women take.

Women are more likely than men to take part-time jobs to balance work and family, she and her colleagues note. However, one measure of job stress -- lack of support from co-workers and supervisors -- was related to depression in both men and women.
The findings point to a need for depression prevention in the workplace, according to the researchers. Offering workers opportunities for training in new skills, for example, might help relieve one source of job stress, Robertson Blackmore noted.

She also pointed to a government study published just last week that found that workers and employers alike could benefit from better depression screening and treatment. Among employees at 16 large companies who screened positive for depression, those who got extra help from their job's health plan -- phone calls from "care managers" who helped guide the employees through treatment -- had greater improvements in their symptoms.

They were also more productive on the job than their co-workers who received standard care, working an average of 2 more hours per week over the course of a year.

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