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  • Sarah Pospos, MD, MS

How to Work with Depression and Anxiety

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

As a psychiatrist, I help countless high performers who struggle internally with work stress, depression and anxiety. Here, I’ll help you recognize signs of work-related depression and anxiety and, most importantly, when to seek help so you don’t have to suffer alone.

High work stress (excessive workload, time pressures, intense job demands, minimal work control, poor support at work, etc.) can double your risk of depression and anxiety.

Work-Related Depression

Do you feel like a cog in a wheel, finding it harder and harder to get out of bed every morning, and work (and life) has simply lost its meaning?

You may also experience:

  • Intense and sustained feelings of sadness, emptiness, and irritability

  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy

  • Low energy

  • Poor focus, concentration, and decision-making

  • Helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or extreme shame/guilt

  • Sleep problems

  • Appetite changes

  • Sexual difficulties

Work Anxiety Symptoms

Work anxiety may look like:

  • Distress when presenting, participating in meetings, and dealing with problems/staff

  • Inability to meet deadlines

  • Turning down a promotion because it involves traveling or public speaking

  • Making excuses to get out of office parties, lunches and other work events

  • Difficulty maintaining personal relationships

You may also experience:

  • Feeling restless, keyed up, on edge or irritable

  • Muscle tension

  • Poor concentration

  • Sleep problems

  • Feeling tired very easily

Panic attacks are not uncommon. It’s a sudden rush of intense fear or discomfort that comes out of the blue, often accompanied with:

  • Heart racing, trembling, or sweating

  • Feeling like you are choking or having trouble catching your breath

  • Feeling sick to your stomach

  • Feeling dizzy and light-headed

  • Feeling hot or having chills

  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers or feet

  • Feeling like you are in a dream or you are watching yourself from the outside

  • Feeling like you are going crazy, might lose control, or might die


When to See a Psychiatrist for Depression and Anxiety

As you can see, endless work pressure may leave even the best of us feeling depressed and/or anxious. With milder symptoms, try some practical tips here to combat work stress. However, if you’re experiencing distress from work-related depression or anxiety and notice that it interferes with your work, relationships, or daily responsibilities, more help is needed.

Psychiatrists are specialized medical doctors who require at least 12 years in higher education and 15,000 hours of clinical training before being allowed to independently diagnose, treat, or prescribe medications. In comparison, nurse practitioners (NP) require 500 clinical hours (typically supervised by a medical doctor), and physician assistants (PA) require 2,000 clinical hours.

One major hesitation for busy professionals is that medication may cause daytime sleepiness or brain fog that interfere with your work. I worked in the corporate world before my medical training - I understand. Some antidepressants, like trazodone, can be sedating and help with sleep. However, with trazodone, you may also watch out for morning grogginess.

Every patient is different, and my recommendations are always made on a case-by-case analysis. If together we determine that medication is beneficial, I’ll walk you through different options, thoroughly explaining the risks, benefits, alternatives, and potential side effects, so you can be fully informed and content with the next steps. My Masters Degrees in Psychopharmacology and Applied Psychology add even more insight on all things medication and human behavior.

Book a free 15-minute initial phone call to become the best version of yourself again.

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