Feeling fatigued, struggling to wake up for work? Long shifts, inadequate pay causing depression amongst millennials
India has become the hub of 'cheap labour' for most of the employers across the globe.
The world has become a competitive place, and we are all a part of the urban rat-race. The more an individual falls prey to the unending, yet unyielding, tryst for money, fame and recognition, s/he is likely to drown in the ditch of depression.
Depression is commonly defined as a state of mind when people experience consuming grief, loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, an all-pervading sense of futility and incompetence, and even suicidal thoughts. Depression is bracketed as an 'affective' or mood disorder. Mood is defined as a state of 'sustained emotional tone' or emotional disposition that characterises an individual's perception of the world around and participation in the society.
Clinical depression is a medical condition which lasts for at least two weeks with certain symptoms, and in most cases can last for months or even years. This is because the symptoms are not recognisable at once, but the condition gradually takes over. Most people who suffer from clinical depression take years before they realise the need for expert's help.
A study, conducted by Assocham last year, showed that 42.5 per cent of employees in Indian private sector are afflicted with general anxiety disorder or depression as compared to government employees. This is attributed to less pay and more working hours which contributes to an atmosphere of constant fatigue that further develops into stress and frustration, thereby acutely affecting mental health. India has become the hub of 'cheap labour' for most of the employers across the globe.
A private sector employee in India works for a minimum of 48-50 hours a week when compared to 33 hours a week in the UK and 40 hours a week in the US. Also the pay scale in India, a 'developing country', is meagre when compared to these 'developed countries' which pay almost six times more even after deducting the indexing prices and cost of living. This leads to extremely demanding schedules, elevated stress level and performance pressure. Thus in a bid to aid and add to the 'cheap labour' of the corporate industry, Indian working class has traded its peace of mind and leisure.
Even for managers, and other top-ranking officers, the situation is nothing different, and often more grave, where stress and frustration doesn't take time to metamorphose into anxiety and depression. In such situation, restlessness, exhaustion, anger, guilt, recurrent panic attacks, suicidal thoughts are also regular guests.
Symptoms of depression in professionals:
- Mood-swings, anxiety, agitation and apathy
- Insomnia or sleeplessness
- Difficulty in waking up in the morning
- Lethargy and drowsiness, lack of interest in daily affairs
- Fatigue and tiredness resulting in slowness and inactivity
- Over-eating, or conversely, loss of appetite
- Unexplained aches and pains in the body
- Increased consumption of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine
- Suicidal tendencies
- Difficulty in focusing, taking more time to finish the task
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness
Workload coupled with unrealistic expectations, lack of work-life balance and drastic lifestyle are the prime factors that trigger such psychological conditions. Moreover, sedentary lifestyle added with lack of fresh air and physical exercise worsens the situation. Furthermore, most of these employees are sleep deprived and hardly ever get to sleep peacefully even for six hours.
According to an Assocham study, clinical depression has risen by around 50 per cent in the last eight years. This in turn, results in an array of multifarious ailments that are gradually creeping in. 23 per cent of the private sector employees are afflicted by obesity which in turn augments the threat of diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disorders. Clinical depression is a highly sensitive matter. Belittling it in anyway could turn fatal. The National Crime Records Bureau statistics reports show that at least 35 in every 100,000 people in Bangalore commit suicide due to depression. Hence it is imperative to seek professional help at such juncture; counselling therapy or medicinal therapy could be immensely beneficial and help towards recovery and mental well-being.
(The author is a consultant psychiatrist with Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield in Bangalore)