AS@W Antidepressant Skills at Work: Dealing with Mood Problems in the Workplace

Putting antidepressant skills to work: an example

Stefan was so tired he could barely keep up with his work.

As we explain depression and teach Antidepressant Skills for managing depressed mood, we will use brief stories to show how different people might use the skills to get better control of depression. We’ll describe situations in which workers developed low mood or depression, actions they took to feel better and results they achieved.


SituationStefan was a skilled electrician with a lot of ambition. He was willing to work hard to get ahead. He’d been successful for a number of years – employers were impressed by his reliability and effort. He obtained a number of big contracts and his reputation grew. He worked long hours and took extra jobs, including some that ran into the early morning hours. Eventually Stefan reached the point of sleeping about four hours each night in order to meet the requirements of his various contracts.

He enjoyed the challenge of working in this way – but, he began to have a lot of fatigue, with poor concentration and low mood. Several times, he made errors that might have caused safety problems – these were mistakes he normally just wouldn’t make. Stefan cut back on his work so that he could get more sleep, turning down some job offers. But this didn’t help - his mood continued to slide down, he was having difficulty getting to sleep, and his concentration got worse. He felt unable to get control of the situation and became increasingly discouraged and worried. He withdrew from contact with friends and family, feeling that he didn’t want to be with others. Then he lost a big contract and became even more discouraged. His fatigue got worse, he lost his appetite and felt sad much of the time. He was so tired he could barely keep up with his work.

Action After several months like this, Stefan went to see his family physician, who diagnosed him as suffering from moderate depression. His physician started an antidepressant medication and referred him to a psychiatrist. Stefan saw the psychiatrist a few weeks later and the antidepressant medication dosage was adjusted. In about a month, Stefan began to feel the return of his usual energy level and concentration. His sleep gradually improved, as did his mood. Once the antidepressant medication had improved his energy, sleep and concentration, he was able able to use the workbook, Antidepressant Skills at Work, to help make positive changes in his life.

Result Stefan increased his level of social activity, re-established contact with friends and family, and made some decisions about the amount of work he was prepared to do. By eight weeks, he was feeling close to his usual self. He stayed on the antidepressant medication for six months, and kept using the antidepressant skills, to make sure that he was on the road to recovery.

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