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Depression in the Workplace

Productivity drops for those who suffer the disorder.

Untreated depression is expensive. A recent study has found that
depressed individuals cost the nation $44 billion a year in lost
productivity. People without depression cost the nation about one-quarter
that amount. In addition to spending time away from work, people who are
depressed seem to work less efficiently even when they are in the

Walter Stewart, Ph.D., from the Outcomes Research Institute in
Danville, Pennsylvania, found that people with depression are more likely
away from work or health-related issues than non-depressed individuals,
5.6 hours a week and 1.5 hours respectively.

Stewart finds that missing a few hours of work each week is not the
biggest reason for a drop in productivity. He notes that 81 percent of
the loss is due to depressed workers not being at their best on the

The study confirmed previous research, which has found women are
more likely to develop depression than men. According to the study, the
disease afflicts about 1.6 percent of men and 5.3 percent of women. Those
with higher levels of education and bigger paychecks were less likely to
be depressed. Over the last year, less than 30 percent of those suffering
depression reported taking antidepressants.

The research comes from a national survey of 3,351 people, and was
published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's issue
devoted to depression.