How depression affects work performance?

Team IIBP Anveshan, Issue 4, Mental Health

कभी खुद्द पे कभी हालात पे रोना आया …., मेरा जीवन कोरा कागज कोरा ही रह गया …., दुननया बनाने वाले क्या तेरे मन में समाई … काहे को दुननया बनाई…!!!!!

Some of you might have heard these sad songs that depict a state of mind of a person, which we can easily identify as Depressive. As a layperson, we have a notion that it is kind of a phase that can come and go because of a break-up or interpersonal issues or the death of a loved one. People may also believe that weak-minded people go through depression, hence not able to handle problems. At the workplace, it is a common belief that to avoid responsibility a person may act like being depressed.

But the reality is something else.

Amit, a 40 years old male who was working in a private organization as a manager for the past 7-8 years was referred to company HR with complaints of increased absenteeism, not being able to handle interpersonal issues, argumentative behavior with authority and colleagues, and decline in quality of work performance. The company had intimated that if he doesn’t show improvement, he will be taken down.

During the discussion with Amit, he reported that he was not feeling well for the past 1 year. He also expressed complaints like loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, difficulty in concentrating and memorising important tasks at hand, working more slowly than usual, feeling tired at work, etc. He also reported that for the past 6-7 months, he was experiencing confusion even to take small decisions.

According to his wife he was not able to spend quality time with his family members and children, didn’t feel like getting along with others as before and was disappointed about their intimate relationship. After evaluating in detail, Amit was diagnosed with Depression.

Amit’s case led to a few questions like, ‘What is Depression?’, ‘How it affects a person’s life?’, ‘Why he was referred to a Practitioner??’ and ‘What is the possible solution?’.

Depression is more serious than grief. It can affect anybody—even a person who seems to live in a comparatively ideal environment. Depression is a common but serious medical illness that negatively affects a person’s thought process, emotion, and behavior (prevalence rate 15.1%. in India).

For instance, a person may underestimate own capabilities, become self-critical, may have low self-esteem, pessimistic view of themselves & their future, they may feel an intense feeling of sadness & emptiness, some people might be unable to cope up with problems, shows a loss of interest in everyday activities and even indulge in substance misuse.

Depression can lead to a variety of physical problems such as chronic body ache, headache, gastrointestinal issues, disturbance in sleep and appetite, loss of libido, etc. Prolonged, undiagnosed and untreated Depression can ultimately culminate in suicide too, hence it requires proper medical attention. (Depression is the second common cause of death among Indian youth)

Genetics, neuro chemicals in the brain, physical illnesses (ex. Thyroid), Outlook or attitude towards self/ others or life led to dysfunctional thoughts act as a contributory factor to Depression. Real-life stressors like lack of financial support or losing a job, death of a loved one or lack of availability of emotional support are few of the main causes of Depression.

But with the help of proper medical treatment, psychotherapy (CBT), changes in lifestyle Depression can be treated effectively.

About the Author: Dr. Amruta Punjabi has completed her Ph.D. in psychology with expertise as a practitioner in the field of Clinical psychology in 2007. Currently, she is working as an Assistant professor at MIT ADT University, Pune. Her research work has been dedicated to schizophrenic patients in the form of various treatments like their rehabilitation, cognitive remediation, and social skills training. She has a keen interest to develop therapies for socially, economically disadvantaged people and especially for women with psychotic illnesses.