Much is often made of the link between lack of work and depression. There are two reasons for this. First, in losing a job, we lose not only an income but social contact, a structure to our day, and our self esteem. Second, lack of activity gives us lots of time to get caught up in our worries and concerns. Such rumination, unsurprisingly, is linked to both anxiety and depression. In the UK we are prescribing more antidepressants than ever before, up 28% according to recent NHS figures, and this is no doubt connected to the economic down turn and higher rates of unemployment.
Less though, is made of the link between too much work and depression. A study in the online journal PLoS ONE suggests that working more than 11 hours a day will make you 2.4 times more likely to suffer depression over a five year period (factoring out all other variables) compared to a 7 or 8 hour day. As men are more likely to work longer hours, they are also at greater risk.
Why does over work lead to depression? Unfortunately the study does not suggest hypothesis as why this might be the case. One clue however, might be in their finding that the people who were younger and less skilled were at higher risk. The younger and less skilled you are the less control you have of your work. People who do not feel in control of their lives often feel powerless which can lead to depression. Perhaps too much work deminishes our sense of control and autonomy?
The truth though, is this is just a guess. All we do know for sure is that too much work isn’t good for you!
Dr Phil Tyson is a Men's Psychotherapist based in Manchester in the UK. He offers:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt) for men in Manchester
- Counselling for men in Manchester
- Psychotherapy for men in Manchester
- Telephone and Skype counselling for men wherever you live
- Supervision and consultative support for therapists in Manchester
- Mediation for employment disputes in Manchester and the UK