More and more sick leave due to depression

More and more sick leave due to depression

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Loss of work due to depression is increasing

The "widespread disease" depression is one of the most common illnesses, according to which every fifth citizen suffers once in a lifetime, according to the German Depression Aid Foundation. In most cases, the disease also has a major impact on the professional life of those affected, which is reflected in increasing absenteeism. But as the new "Depression Atlas" from Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) shows, not all professions are apparently equally affected here.

Depression, lack of drive and loss of interest as typical symptoms More and more people in Germany are suffering from depression, which manifests itself in a variety of symptoms such as a persistent mood, lack of drive, loss of interest, fear and sadness. In addition, there are various physical signs such as sleep disorders, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath or a lump in the throat, which in some cases are so pronounced that the typical psychological symptoms are masked and therefore easily overlooked in practice (larval or "masked" depression ). Depression is unfortunately not an isolated case, instead it is now considered a "widespread disease" and is the most common mental illness.

Illness Fundamentally Limits Life Expectancy Depressed people are usually more likely to suffer than many other patients because the disease fundamentally limits quality of life. For example, those affected are often no longer able to experience joy, instead an unbearable state is experienced, which even leads to suicide in around 15% of the serious cases. Accordingly, many affected people experience getting up in the morning as a real act of violence and working as a “mountain” that does not seem to be manageable.

4.1 million insured persons' sick leave evaluated As a result, depression increasingly leads to sick leave. This emerges from the new "Depression Atlas", for which the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) has evaluated the sick leave of its 4.1 million employable insured. According to the study, absenteeism due to depression increased by almost 70 percent between 2000 and 2013. At the same time, the proportion of employed persons (employees subject to social security contributions and ALG I recipients) who were prescribed antidepressants increased by a third to a total of six percent in the same period, reports the TK. "Germany is depressed," wrote the health insurance company with regard to the results: "Statistically, everyone was on sick leave for one day due to depression," said TK boss Jens Baas.

"Germany is depressed" According to this, depression still affects far fewer workers than colds or back pain (1.6% of sick leave) - "those who are affected are absent for a very long time, on average 64 days", explains Baas further. “That means it is a very long-term illness for the patient, combined with long downtimes for the companies. If you also look at the large medical care needs of patients, depression is also an economic factor. ”

Call center workers particularly at risk Converted for a company with 250 employees, this means that an average of four of its employees would be absent for a good two months a year, the report says. If the vacation entitlement were also included, at least one job would be lost due to depression. However, according to the TK study, not every profession is affected equally. Instead, people in sectors with high levels of stress and psychological stress are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, people who, e.g. work in the call center (2.8 days), in geriatric care (2.5), in education (1.6) or in security professions (1.4).

Women more often on sick leave due to depression Thomas Grobe from the AQUA (Institute for Applied Quality Promotion and Research in Health Care) reports that when evaluating the data for TK, a difference between the sexes became clear: “[…] With 1.3 days on average, women are significantly more due to Depression on sick leave than men with an average of 0.8 days. “Absenteeism would also increase significantly with increasing age - however, the values ​​would decrease again from the age of 60, the expert continued. In addition to that, the TK had for the first time also evaluated the sick leave due to depression at the local level. The result: While there was an average of 1.7 absentee days per capita, the highest absenteeism in Merzig-Wadern (Saarland), the researchers found the best mental health in Greiz in the Vogtland (0.2 depression-related absenteeism).

Absenteeism alone is only meaningful to a limited extent. However, according to the TK, the absenteeism could only be used to a limited extent to determine how “stressful” the country actually is, because “not everyone who has depression is on sick leave,” explains York Scheller, psychologist at TK. The antidepressant prescriptions were also evaluated accordingly, which showed that, for example, Birkenfeld (Rhineland-Palatinate), despite below-average absenteeism (minus 48 percent) in prescribing antidepressants, was 20 percent above the German average. (No)

Image: Jetti Kuhlemann /

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