Increasingly demanding conditions in the American workplace have resulted in an increase in work-related stress. Left unchecked, chronic job stress can lead to illnesses including anxiety or depression. For state workers already prone to depressive episodes, or those managing major depression, the pressure of the workplace can induce episodes or worsen existing symptoms. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options, including a revolutionary, non-invasive therapy called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which has proven incredibly effective, especially for patients who don’t respond to other remedies.
If you feel consistently overwhelmed or anxious at work, it’s important to take steps to reduce your stress such as regular meditation or exercise, blocking off free time for yourself, or speaking to your supervisor or human resources about your situation. If you’re feeling stuck, sometimes taking action and getting perspective can bring relief and get you back on track.
However, if you have persistent feelings of sadness, disinterest, or hopelessness that don’t respond to typical stress-reduction techniques, you may be experiencing depression, a mood disorder that currently affects over 16 million people in the U.S. For the vast majority of people, depression will not go away on its own. Consult your healthcare provider so they can diagnose whether your symptoms are depression, anxiety, or another illness. If necessary, they can also refer you to a psychologist for counseling or a psychiatrist who can prescribe short- or long-term medication, such as antidepressants.
An increasing number of doctors are finding great success with the FDA-approved TMS therapy, a painless, non-invasive outpatient treatment that uses magnetic energy to stimulate the brain to release the chemicals that alleviate depression. Over a few weeks, patients typically undergo three to five sessions lasting 30-60 minutes, and report very few to no side effects between visits. During the course of treatment, the stimulation encourages new neural pathways to form and, incredibly, makes depression relief self-sustaining for many patients.
TMS is effective in about 60% of patients, or twice as effective as antidepressants, and has proven particularly effective in patients for whom medications do not work. TMS patients also typically experience far fewer side effects than those on medications alone.
The high pressure and sometimes unrealistic expectations of the modern workplace can lead to physical illnesses, including depression. Whether you are are experiencing work-related stress or feel that job pressure may be contributing to depression, remember that your symptoms are treatable and that you deserve to feel your best.
Be sure to read next week’s blog on the challenges of parenting a child with depression.