Health conditions such as ADHD, addiction, depression, anxiety disorder, and
sleep problems can indeed exact a staggering toll on the business budget.
In the U.S., where depression affects nearly one in 10 people, the estimated
cost of this disability in missed work days, medical expenses, and premature
death is $43 billion per year, reports the American Psychiatric Association
If you knew that frequent anger might raise your risk of heart disease
significantly, would you continue to blow off steam by yelling and smashing
things during an argument or getting furious if the office email crashes during
a rushed, stressful day?
It's time for hot heads to take heed: Increasingly, the negative, irritable,
raging, and intimidating personality type worries heart researchers and doctors
alike. "You're talking about people who seem to experience high levels of anger
Combine that with stress-related problems, and the price tag for
corporations can go up to $80 billion, says executive consultant John
Despite all these issues, many businesses slash their mental health
Companies "see their health premiums rise, and they get upset about
that, and try to figure out ways to cut that," says Weaver. "An easy
place to cut is the mental health benefits, because no one is going to
complain, and say 'I need those,' because they're afraid of what's going to
Indeed, the stigma attached to mental health conditions can prevent
illness-related concerns from being fully addressed in the workplace.
Complicating matters, there are plenty of issues that can affect
productivity, and it's not unusual for individuals to experience many of them
at the same time.
"Real people often have more than one problem," says Weaver, noting
how common it is for employees to be simultaneously depressed and anxious, or
to have an addiction problem and ADHD.
However, Weaver reminds companies and employees that the most expensive way
to deal with the matter is to rely solely on treating the issues after they
become a problem.
Going to a mental health professional or accessing EAP resources are very
effective ways of dealing the concern, he says, but such resources are
expensive because they involve highly trained people who work on a one-on-one
To help stem the cost of various health conditions, Weaver recommends that
companies institute early interventions such as wellness programs,
depression/anxiety awareness days, mental health screenings, and drug
"If companies do effective intervention, education, screenings, and
things like that, for every dollar they spend, they're going to save somewhere
between $2.50 and $5 in treatment costs per person," says Weaver. Not only
that, he says productivity tends to go up as a result.
It might also help employees to take advantage of such programs and to seek
help for themselves, even when such resources are not available on the job.
If your work situation becomes unbearable to the point of despair, it might
also help to take note of the testimonials in this article. You are not
There are people out there who have experienced problems similar to yours,
and with some faith, hope, and outside help, many of them have been able to
work through their issues.
SOURCES: World Health Organization. American Psychiatric
Association. John Weaver, PsyD, owner of Pscyhology for Business, a workplace
consulting firm. National Sleep Foundation. Meir Kryger, MD, professor of
medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. Mark Rosekind, PhD, president and
chief scientist, Alertness Solutions. Anxiety Disorders Association of America.
Jeffrey P. Kahn, MD, clinical psychiatrist, author, Mental Health and
Productivity in the Workplace. Rudy Nydegger, PhD, professor of psychology,
Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. Lawrence S. Brown, Jr. MD, MPH, president,
American Society of Addiction Medicine. U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. WebMD
Feature: "Internet to Sex: Defining Addiction." Angie Moore, licensed
counselor in the treatment of alcohol, drug, and gambling addiction;
spokeswoman, Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery. Russell Barkley, PhD,
professor of psychiatry for the Medical University of South Carolina.Children
and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. WebMD Feature:
"Adult ADHD: More Controversy, Treatments."