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Mood disorder cuts work performance

10:26am, September 20, 2006

Lost workdays occur especially frequently among people with bipolar disorder, even more so than among workers with major depression, a national survey finds.

Major depression consists of recurrent bouts of helplessness, hopelessness, and depressed mood. In contrast, swings between periods of severe depression and of euphoria characterize bipolar disorder.

Researchers led by sociologist Ronald C. Kessler of Harvard Medical School in Boston interviewed a nationally representative sample of 3,378 workers. The interviews revealed that in the previous year, 1 percent had suffered from bipolar disorder and 6 percent had experienced major depression.

The team counted as lost work time both absences and lowered job performance. Each worker with bipolar disorder lost the equivalent of almost 66 workdays yearly, compared with 27 lost workdays for each person with major depression, the researchers report in the September American Journal of Psychiatry. This differen

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