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Warning: Shift work can cause depression and mood disorders!

by , 07 October 2013
A shift worker, particularly one who works nights, must function on a schedule that's not 'natural'. And constantly changing schedules can cause depression and mood disorders. Since it's your duty to keep your employees safe and healthy, read on to discover how to help shift workers deal with depression and mood disorders.

Shift workers are more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.

The Health&Safety Advisor explains that this is because social isolation of shift work takes a psychological toll on their mind-set. It may also directly affect your employees' brain chemistry.

You see, the brain contains a chemical called serotonin. This plays a large role in your moods. When this chemical is lowered, it results in depression and mood disorders.

If you think depression is nothing to worry about, you're wrong!

Depression can lead to major accidents in the workplace. After all, employees who suffer from depression don't care what happens to themselves or to others.

Keep in mind that depression can occur in some employees as a result of continuous shift work, lack of sleep, bad nutrition, changes in meal times or not eating at all.

Let's look at some of the most common symptoms of depression.

Here are the nine common symptoms of depression:

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness;
  2. Loss of interest in daily activities;
  3. Appetite and weight changes;
  4. Anger or irritability;
  5. Loss of energy;
  6. Self-loathing;
  7. Reckless behaviour;
  8. Concentration problems; and
  9. Unexplained aches and pains.

The good news is you can help your shift workers to manage depression and mood disorders.

Here's how to help shift workers deal with depression and mood disorders

The Health&Safety Advisor recommends you hold workshops on how to recognise depression in co-workers on a regular basis.

In these workshops, you must highlight the risks, symptoms and how to deal with colleagues who might have depression. Also start a depression support group at work and train supervisors and managers on how to handle employees who have depression.

The most important thing is to let your employees know you care about their well-being. So use these methods to help them deal with depression and mood disorders.

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