Occupational depression: symptoms, causes and treatment

It is one of the psychological disorders that most affects workers and therefore companies. Depression at work is a feeling of sadness, demotivation, and continued discouragement related to work.

In some serious cases, the worker can request sick leave. This situation may be due either to personal problems (in the event of bereavement following the death of a loved one or to any other particularly serious circumstance) or to problems related to the work environment (situation of moral harassment, delay in the payment of wages, etc.).

This feeling of sadness is not punctual but persists for a long time and causes the worker to perform less and have serious problems to lead a normal life.

What is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that many people suffer from at some point in their lives.. It is essential to be able to detect the circumstances at the origin of this depressed mood. By knowing the causes, it is possible to start therapy or follow a series of psychological guidelines to get out of this bad situation.

Depression at work: what is it?

We spend many hours in the work environment, so anything that happens in that context can affect how we value ourselves, and it can cause depression in severe cases.

In some organizations, they pay particular attention to achieving the level of well-being of their employees. That way, if there is some sort of relevant situation, they can take concrete action so that the affected person (s) can seek the support of a trusted personality from the HR team. In addition, these types of psychological problems arising from a bad work environment have a significant effect on the bottom line of the company.

Below, we’ll find out what the most common symptoms of depression in the workplace are, and how to spot and help someone with this mood disorder.


Occupational depression is a disorder that begins in the workplace but can show its effects beyond this context:

  • Sadness and apathy
  • Anxiety without a specific cause
  • demotivation of employment
  • Constant fatigue; to feel “burnt”
  • Weight changes
  • Irritability and explosions in the working environment
  • Low concentration and poor performance
  • Increased time required to perform daily functions
  • Increase in errors and distractions in their work
  • Occasional Victims In the case of this disease, the co-workers and direct supervisors of the affected person can be of great help in diagnosing the problem.

the causes

But, What are the most common causes of depression at work? We analyze them below:

  • Have had a traumatic or particularly stressful experience
  • A work environment in which the employee has no control over the situation
  • Frustration continues not to achieve expected results
  • Particularly stressful and demanding working conditions
  • Communication problems and conflicts with co-workers or superiors
  • Excessive responsibilities and not agreeing with the salary
  • Lack of appreciation and recognition of the work done by the employee If you detect that you or one of your colleagues in the office has this symptomatology, it is time to act and start psychological therapy which will be based on different points .


Mental health professionals use different techniques, strategies and activities that, when implemented correctly, can reduce symptoms of work-related depression.

The treatment to be followed must be adapted to each person and to their problems. Each work context is unique and the causes and symptoms to determine how the situation should still be and which therapeutic tools will be most appropriate.

Let’s learn some general tips and solutions that can help us in case we suffer from depression at work.

1. Educate employees

Educating workers about work-related disorders and how to prevent them is a great idea and helps prevent cases of impotence.. At the very least, employees learn to spot dangerous situations and report any problems. Information is power, and being able to identify risky situations within the work team is one of the most obvious ways to minimize the impact this problem can have on some members. .

2. Talk about it

It is not a rare disorder: Many people experience depression at work at some point in their careers. Talking about it and sharing your feelings with your peers will reduce the psychological burden.

The simple act of soul-searching and talking to someone about how you feel and what’s going on in your office it will make you feel better and you will be able to understand what is going on. Your support people can give you their opinion on the situation and give you advice so that you can resolve the conflict that is worrying you. Additionally, if your peers are aware of your situation, they are likely to empathize with you and try to find solutions.

3. Transfer your concern to your superiors

First of all, if you decide to take this step, it is important that you treat it with discretion and confidentiality in a timely manner.

In most cases, the company can understand the complaints of the person concerned and take appropriate action to alleviate the situation (especially if there is an overload of work or a communication problem). In any case, if you are the person who suffers from depression at work, remember to communicate this circumstance correctly and with all possible precautions, in a tone of maximum cordiality. It is much better for superiors to see that you have a constructive spirit and that they perceive you as someone who is destabilizing the group or not fulfilling its obligations.

They might be able to give you a few days off so you can take some time off and recharge the batteries.

4. Go to psychological therapy

If you suffer from depression at work or if you detect that a colleague may be at risk, It is very helpful to see a mental health professional who can treat the causes and symptoms of this disorder.. Each professional will study the case in depth and make decisions on the best therapy and the best tools that can be used. Correctly detecting the causes of occupational depression will allow the therapist to better understand the situation.

Bibliographical references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: author (2000). (Trad. Castellano, Barcelona: Masson, 2002).
  • Dr. Alfredo Horaci CIA (2002). Anxiety and its disorders. Buenos Aires: By Products Roche SAQ and I.
  • Drake RE, Cimpean D, Torrey WC (2009). Shared Decision Making in Mental Health: Perspectives on Personalized Medicine. Dialogues Clin Neurosci 2009; 11: 455-63.
  • Kesselheim AS, Misono AS, Lee JL, Stedman MR, Brookhart MA, Choudhry NK, Shrank WH (2008). Clinical equivalence of generic and brand-name drugs used in cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. December 3, 2008; 300 (21): 2514-26.

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