Which Secrets Aren’t Safe?

Which Secrets Aren’t Safe?

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Everyone’s had rough days. Days when you just didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone go to work. But what do you do when those days become an everyday occurrence and start to affect you at work? And when do you talk to your boss about it?

The top five career-busting health issues are ADHD, addiction, depression, anxiety disorders and sleep problems, according to the American Psychiatric Association. But these issues can be costly for more than the person suffering from them. In 2006, the APA estimated that the company costs of these disabilities in missed workdays, medical expense and premature death is about $43 billion per year.

So, when sunrise becomes the bane of your existence, talk to your boss and make an appointment with a mental health professional to work on the issue before it becomes a serious problem.

“There is nothing more dangerous than a self-diagnosis,” says Sharon DiMario, the president and executive director of Employer Health Care Alliance. “Employees should go to their superiors as soon as they think there might be a problem.”

She says that many companies have people who can help with mental health issues or who can refer you to a local professional.

“You have a right to know what your company has to offer you,” she says.

Unfortunately, the best answer isn’t always the easy one.

“With behavioral and mental issues, there’s a stigma that people think they’ll be seen as weak and unable to do their jobs if they come forward,” DiMario says. “I know it can be scary, but you shouldn’t avoid talking about it because of that.”

This stigma is especially true for women in a male dominated workplace.

The “Handbook on Women in Business and Management” by Diana Billimoria and Sandy Kristin Piderit, discusses how women frequently have a difficult time maintaining an emotional distance from work. This emotional connection often makes them a target for seeming weak, especially in management positions.

But, sticks and stones right? Even if someone is pointing the finger, doing what’s best for you should always be top priority.

Seeking professional help is best for you and best for the company.

Executive Consultant John Weaver told WebMD.com, an online medical reference site, that when companies spend money on helping their employees deal with health issues, they can ultimately save about $5 in treatment costs per person. It might not seem like much, but $5 adds up.

In addition, keeping a healthy workplace has been shown to also increase productivity and morale, according the APA.

If you do decide to talk to a doctor about your health issues, keep in mind that everything you say is completely protected from your employer because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Without your permission, your health records are only used for your personal treatment and research.

“Sometimes people fear that talking to their superiors will induce some sort of reprisal,” DiMario says. “But it would be highly illegal for something like that to happen.”