Depression A Major Reason for Short-Term DisabilityAugust 19, 2010
According to Spencer’s Benefits Reports, workers receiving treatment for depression are twice as likely to use short-term disability as their colleagues who have never been treated for mental health issues.
Researchers found in the study commissioned by the drug maker Sanofi Aventis that even when employees were in treatment and given prescriptions for anti-depressants there were substantial worker absences attributed to their depression.
The article appeared in the February issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and found that workers who were currently being treated for depression were three times more likely to take time off for their disability.
Employment Labor Laws protects employees with disabilities and under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) employers are prohibited from denying any individual with a disability employment, transportation, public accommodations, state and local government services and telecommunications. Employees diagnosed and being treated for depression are considered to be legally disabled and are therefore protected under these employments labor laws.
The study also speculates that if these same employees were also given therapy along with their prescriptions for anti-depressants that it would result in substantial savings for employers. It states that one of the biggest reasons for the high rate of absenteeism by employees diagnosed with depression was because they were failing to take their medications as prescribed.
The researchers also theorize that costs to employers would be significantly reduced by treating these employees with therapy in addition to simply prescribing them antidepressants to ensure they are taking their medications consistently.
Utilizing data from insurance claims and employee health documents for over 22,000 patients taking antidepressants, the study concluded that depression was responsible for the largest portions of short-term disability claims. It revealed that the average disability related costs for this group for a single year was $1,038 for depression patients compared with $325 per year for employees not diagnosed and being treated for depression.
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