Working Too Hard? Job Stress Doubles Depression Risk, Says Study


Depression Eludes Some, But Not Most Under Stress

But Reiss has seen a decreasing number of claims because people are afraid of losing their jobs.

"They are tolerating more," he said. "But once they hit bottom, it's worse."

That happened to Shari McGuire of Maple Grove, Minn., who became clinically depressed after averaging 70 hours a week working for a large corporation.

"The pressure was unbelievable," she said. "It was an enormous feat to get things done by so many deadlines."

In 2007, her son was born.

"I wanted to be home with my baby, and I didn't know how to grow my career without the extra hours," said McGuire, now 43.

She sought help, but she said the antidepressants made her feel like there was "an even bigger cloud over my head."

"One depression medication wasn't enough, so a second medication was added," said McGuire. "I knew that there had to be a better way to make a living because I was missing out on so much life."

When she noticed that she was visibly absent from photos with her now-5-year-old son, she knew it was time to reevaluate her 19-year career and walked away from her "six-figure job."

The last straw was in 2010, when she was expected to explain a $20,000 gap in the budget on a conference call.

"I had worked 70 hours that week and I could have spent 80 hours," she said. "I realized, 'I can't do it anymore,' and quit."

After an unsuccessful attempt to start her own business, she took another information technology job. But this time, she set limits. Now, she has been off medication for a year.

McGuire wrote about her experience to help others in a book, "Take Back Your Time: 101 Simple Tips To Shrink Your Work-Week and Conquer The Chaos In Your Life."

The key, she said, is not managing time better, but "changing your behavior."

"I now only work 40 hours a week and I am happier," she said. "I can live my life again. ... If your job doesn't allow you to do that, you are in the wrong job."

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