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One-in-10 European employees depressed

Oct. 1, 2012 at 11:21 PM   |   Comments

BRUSSELS, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- One-in-10 European workers took time off from work because of depression, with an average of 36 days lost per episode of depression, researchers say.

The Impact of Depression in the Workplace in Europe Audit polled more than 7,000 employees in Europe and found 20 percent received a diagnosis of depression at some point.

The highest percentage was in Britain -- at 26 percent -- with Italy having the least at 12 percent. Among workers experiencing depression, 61 percent in Germany took time off of work, followed by 60 percent in Denmark and 58 percent in Britain. Those in Turkey were the least likely to take time off of work for depression at 25 percent.

Despite the high rates of absenteeism due to depression, 25 percent of those experiencing depression stated they did not tell their employer about their problem and of these, one-third said they felt it would put their job at risk in the current economic climate.

The cognitive symptoms of depression -- concentration difficulties, indecisiveness, and/or forgetfulness -- cause significant impairment in work function and productivity. However, the survey showed awareness of these symptoms was poor. When survey respondents were asked to identify signs of depression 33 percent said forgetfulness, 44 said indecisiveness and 57 percent trouble concentrating, the survey said.

In contrast, 88 percent identified low mood or sadness as a sign of depression.

The costs of depression were estimated at $118 billion in 2010 in the European Union with lost productivity due to absenteeism -- taking time off work -- and presenteeism -- being present at work while ill -- representing over 50 percent of all costs related to depression.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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