Anxiety and depression, and the medication for them prescribed by doctors,
appear to affect workplace performance, according to research published by the
A study conducted by the Health and Safety Ergonomics Unit at Loughborough
University and the Department of Health and Social Care at Brunel University,
found sufferers described a variety of accidents and near misses that they
believed were linked to their condition or the side effects of medication.
Those with responsibilities for others, such as teachers, doctors or
managers, seemed to present a particular risk to safety at work.
The study said that failing to take medication was common because of its unpleasant
side effects, lack of improvement of symptoms or because it made people feel
worse at first.
Sufferers were often unprepared for the side effects and would have welcomed
better information from doctors and pharmacists.
Mental health problems were not well understood by employers, with little
support in the workplace, the study concluded.
Professor Cheryl Haslam, of the University of Nottingham’s Institute of
Work, Health and Organisations (formerly of Department of Health and Social
Care at Brunel), said: "People suffering from anxiety and depression
experience great difficulties at work managing their symptoms and dealing with
the side effects of their medication.
"Many were unprepared for the fact that it can take two or three weeks
before they start to see improvements. Patients need more information from GPs
about the medication and the side effects, so they know what to expect."