Tuesday, February 7

Work stress as a germ of depression: pressure at work enhances mental disorders

Work stress is behind one in five cases of depression. This is one of the main conclusions of an international study led by Spanish researchers from the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IBIBAPS) of the Barcelona Hospital Clinic, published in the journal Nature, which has studied the risk factors that favor the appearance of of this mental illness.

The results. The study found that 18% of the cases of depression studied have high work pressure as one of their main triggering factors, which would also cause other types of pathologies and health problems, both mental and physical, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, strokes, musculoskeletal injuries and even death.

Other important risk factors for depression would be sexual abuse in childhood, excess fats in the blood or lack of exercise.

A growing problem. The Clinic study does not delve further into the causes, since it is more quantitative than analytical. However, several recent studies point in the same direction and delve into work-related mental disorders more broadly.

Increasing stress is the disorder that most worries experts who study the consequences of work excesses. A recently published report by the market research consultancy Gallup indicates that in 2021, 44% of professionals surveyed around the world felt high levels of stress on a daily basis. In other words, almost half of the planet’s workforce is highly stressed.

worried and sad. In addition to stress, the report also delves into other aspects related to mental health and work. Thus, 40% of those surveyed say that they feel worried about their job on a daily basis, and only 21% say that they feel really committed to their work. On a more personal level, 21% of the workers surveyed confessed that they get angry every day because of their job, and 23% admit that they are sad every day because of their work.

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Burnout syndrome. Along the same lines, an Adecco report published in 2021 indicated that 40% of Spanish and global workers had suffered burnout (that is, chronic stress due to work) during the last year.

Some figures that several mental health professionals consulted by Xataka confirmed, which is why they asked the Government of Spain, together with the unions, that this syndrome, also known as ‘burnt worker’, be considered an occupational disease and include it in the Chart of occupational diseases of the Social Security. The World Health Organization (WHO), in fact, already includes it in its International Classification of Diseases.

A malaise that drives the fight. This growing malaise among the workforce around the world not only causes mental disorders, it is also behind the movements that are currently fighting to make work a more pleasant space and better reconcile personal life.

Why do I have to spend two hours on the subway if I can work perfectly from home? Why do I have to lose two hours at noon on a split day? Why do I have to put work before family? And so, dozens of questions that have led to the many struggles currently open in the labor market, from telecommuting to a four-day work week, passing through flexible hours, intensive working hours or the rejection of jobs with precarious conditions, as well as as well as tendencies such as the Great Renunciation or the job ghosting.

Image | Christopher LeMercier

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