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  1. #1
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    Bipolar Disorder Takes Heavy Toll on Workplace

    Bipolar Disorder Takes Heavy Toll on Workplace

    FRIDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Bipolar disorder costs U.S. businesses twice as much in lost productivity than major depression, a new study finds.

    Each U.S. worker with bipolar disorder averaged 65.5 lost workdays a year, compared to 27.2 annual lost work days for those with major depression, concludes a study in the September issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

    Overall, major depression is six times more common than bipolar disorder, but bipolar disorder costs U.S. businesses nearly half as much as major depression, at more than $14 billion a year, the study said.

    The findings are based on a year of data collected from nearly 3,400 workers who took part in a national survey. Workers were asked how many days in the previous year they had experienced a mood-disorder episode. Lost productivity was calculated by combining work days lost due to absence or poor functioning on the job and salary data.

    About one percent of U.S. workers experience bipolar disorder in a year, compared to 6.4 percent who battle major depression. However, the researchers estimated that bipolar disorder accounts for 96.2 million lost workdays a year and $14.1 billion in lost salary/lost production, compared to 225 million lost workdays and $36.6 billon in lost salary/lost production for major depression.

    The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

    Another NIMH-funded study in the same issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry found that depression can impair many aspects of job performance, and these effects linger even after depression symptoms have improved.

    Researchers assessed the job performance and productivity of 286 workers with depression and dysthymia, 93 with rheumatoid arthritis, and 193 healthy workers for 18 months.

    Dysthymia is a form of depression marked by consistently low moods that aren't as extreme as in other kinds of depression.

    Job performance among the depressed workers did improve as their symptoms eased, but even "clinically improved" depressed workers did worse than healthy workers on mental, interpersonal, time management, output and physical tasks, the study found.

    Compared to healthy workers, those with rheumatoid arthritis did worse only on physical tasks.

    Health professionals need to pay more attention to recovery of work function in people with depression, the study authors said. They also suggested that workplace support programs are needed to help depressed workers better manage their job demands.

    More information

    The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about bipolar disorder.

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    Re: Bipolar Disorder Takes Heavy Toll on Workplace

    That's a fascinating study. It's interesting that, although major depression is six times as common as bipolar disorder, more work days are lost due to bipolar than to depression. It's almost as though, speaking in lay person's terms, a depressed person is more likely to drag him or herself to the drudgery of the daily grind, than would a bipolar person be able to manage the stability of mood needed to maintain consistent attendance. If that's the case, it certainly jives with my own experience.

    On a related note, I spoke with my roommate Trina last night, and she said that throughout the two years that she's known me, she began *gradually* to suspect that I was bipolar, based on observations of similar sympoms in persons she's known, etc. Then she asked me if I realized that most people are depressed, and have much less energy than I do?

    Is that really true? Are *most* people depressed?

    Anyway, what she has observed is that I have a tendency to stay "up" for unusually long periods of time, but that when I crash, I crash pretty hard. I guess that's what happened when I left the South Bay, and bummed around the Bay Area for all those days. Looking back, decisions I thought I was making in my own best interest (e.g., "I'm just gonna chill for a while--I'm not going to make any decisions at all for ten days) actually were the effects of depression, and they worked totally against me.

    It would have been better had I immediately returned to Lodi and to treatment. But of course, that's all hindsight.

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    Re: Bipolar Disorder Takes Heavy Toll on Workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by stargazer View Post
    That's a fascinating study. It's interesting that, although major depression is six times as common as bipolar disorder, more work days are lost due to bipolar than to depression. It's almost as though, speaking in lay person's terms, a depressed person is more likely to drag him or herself to the drudgery of the daily grind, than would a bipolar person be able to manage the stability of mood needed to maintain consistent attendance.}
    That was my train of thought also sg. Perhaps bipolar sufferers, when going through depressive states are 'used' to the high that they have previously experianced, and therefore find it harder to find the energy needed for work. Where as someone with a constant depressive state 'has' to otherwise they'd always be at home (HUGE overgeneralisations on my part - I know)

    Quote Originally Posted by stargazer
    Then she asked me if I realized that most people are depressed, and have much less energy than I do?

    Is that really true? Are *most* people depressed?
    I'm not sure if 'most' people are depressed. Certainly with the different types of depression, i.e. Bipolar, clinical depression, and then depressive states brought on by depression situations, it can certainly *feel* like everyone is depressed. I think alot of people are also unaware that they are depressed, and yet there are also a great deal more diagnosis' than there has been in times past.

    In my own experiance, probably around 30% of my family and friends have been on depression medication at some point in their lives. That, ofcourse, doesn't mean that the other 70 haven't been depressed, (we also have to factor in issues that make people not want to take meds, or not want to 'admit' to depression etc.)

    In short.... because I'm starting to ramble... again...
    I can't answer you
    LOL
    how helpful is that??

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    Re: Bipolar Disorder Takes Heavy Toll on Workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by ^^Phoenix^^ View Post
    Perhaps bipolar sufferers, when going through depressive states are 'used' to the high that they have previously experienced, and therefore find it harder to find the energy needed for work.
    That's almost exactly what happened with me on my last job. I spoke off the record to my old Kaiser therapist about it, and he suggested that it was when I was "manic" that I was getting along with everyone, getting things done, showing up on time, etc., and everyone figured, he's just a high energy guy. Then suddenly I crashed so hard and so fast, I could barely get out of bed. On the last day of camp, I called in complaining, and didn't show up, which wound up alienating a few of the other teachers, since basically I bailed on the workday, when we had to clean out our classrooms. Of course, that wasn't my motive, I was just too depressed. Another teacher sent me an e-mail complaining that she had had to clean out my classroom, which included coffee cups, etc. And the effect of the e-mail was to depress me even further. Plus she did it as a "reply all" in another thread among co-workers...

    Well, now *I'm* rambling...the point is, yes, when "manic" I was always on time, I rode my bike 7 1/2 miles to work every morning and 7 1/2 miles back, and when I was depressed everyone thought I was an entirely different human being. My boss called me three times before the third time requested my resignation and asked me to get treatment and come back later on.

    Quote Originally Posted by ^^Phoenix^^ View Post
    I'm not sure if 'most' people are depressed. Certainly with the different types of depression, i.e. Bipolar, clinical depression, and then depressive states brought on by depression situations, it can certainly *feel* like everyone is depressed. I think alot of people are also unaware that they are depressed, and yet there are also a great deal more diagnosis' than there has been in times past. In my own experiance, probably around 30% of my family and friends have been on depression medication at some point in their lives. That, ofcourse, doesn't mean that the other 70 haven't been depressed, (we also have to factor in issues that make people not want to take meds, or not want to 'admit' to depression etc.)
    Despite my just having admitted to a major depressive episode, I must confess I've never quite understood the more common forms of depression, people disliking their jobs, moping about this and that. In fact, I'll confess to having been somewhat uncompassionate regarding the depressions of some of my friends. I think things like: "I'm worse off than they are, and I still find things to be happy about!" It's a little silly, but there might also be a factor of my getting bored easily, whereas many people are quite content to sit at home, chill out, rent a DVD--things that it never even occurs to me to do.

    Not sure if I'm making sense. I do want to develop more compassion for the depressed. But I'm looking at the sky, the sunshine--it's all so beautiful. Why not just enjoy it? Who cares if I don't have any money, no car, etc. I like to take a walk, smell the roses, look at the beautiful sights. It seems to me that I usually don't become "depressed" until something happens to depress me. We talked about this in therapy yesterday.

    But I have friends who make upwards of $70,000 a year, drive nice cars, and tell me life is drudgery. If I had that kind of money, I'd have so many projects happening, it wouldn't even be funny. But then again, I'm manic.

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