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Bipolar Disorder Effects Work

Posted Oct 16 2006 12:00am
The recent research reports are showing that Bipolar Disorder is costing companies more sick days than major depression.

Results from a resent survey conducted by the World Health Organization reported Bipolar to be associated with 65.5% and major depressive disorder with 27.2% lost work days per year. In subgroups it was not mania that was associated with the Bipolar work days but depressive episodes.*

Reports like this alert employers to take action like this report suggests
Effectiveness trials are needed to study the return on employer investment of coordinated programs for workplace screening and treatment of bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder.”*

I personally have a hard time commenting on this because I have been self-employed for some time now. Although, after reading this article a professional asked me how many "down" days I had a year. I answered, but with clarification because I reminded him how each patient may interpret their personal symptoms differently; not always using a clinical definition or if so not one properly. I also clarified that depression usually follows mania, for me.

Times can be very difficult, just like in any illness the workplace needs to be compassionate to help people survive. However, probing in to your mental health status and treatment is crossing a serious boundary.

On the other hand, is this research news that works to the advantage of those who can not work at all? Will information like this aid in SSDI? There is a range of serverity in Bipolar Disorder and for some full-time regular employment is not possible. Perhaps for SSDI this information will be helpful.


*Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;163(9):1561-8. Links
Prevalence and effects of mood disorders on work performance in a nationally
representative sample of u.s. Workers.Kessler RC, Akiskal HS, Ames M,
Birnbaum H, Greenberg P, A RM, Jin R, Merikangas KR, Simon GE, Wang PS.
Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Ave.,
Boston, MA 02115


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