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What is Work Stress?
The definition of work stress varies, but it can be summed up as the negative physical and emotional reactions that arise when the demands of the position do not meet an employee’s needs, resources, or abilities. Poor health and even injury are consequences of work-related stress.1
Below are a few work stress-related statistics for reference:
- The majority of Americans routinely regard their jobs as a significant source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America poll.2
- 83% of US workers experience work-related stress, with 25% citing their job as their biggest source of stress.3
- Every day, one million Americans miss work due to high stress.
- Workplace stress affects personal relationships, according to 76% of US employees.
- 62% of people have neck pain at the end of the day because of their jobs.
- 19%, or nearly one in five respondents, had departed a previous job due to work stress, and almost one in four reported being brought to tears by work related stress.
- According to studies, 96% of employers offer their employees access to mental health resources. However, only 1 in 6 employees feel supported by these tools, demonstrating that the impact of this help isn’t always apparent.4
- Workplace stress is primarily brought on by workload (39% of employees), interpersonal problems (31%), balancing work and personal life (19%), and job security (6%).
Causes of Work Stress
Work-related stress is frequently brought on by several reasons, such as:5
- Lengthy hours
- Intense workload
- Changes in the organization itself
- Unrealistic deadlines
- Sudden changes to responsibilities
- Job instability
- Very little autonomy
- Boring duties
- Inadequate job skills
- Inadequate working conditions
- Lack of suitable resources
- Inadequate equipment
- Few opportunities for promotion
- Negative interactions with coworkers or superiors
Symptoms of Work Stress
When symptoms persist and interfere with your daily routine, it may be time to consider seeking work stress counseling. Work related stress can manifest symptoms that are physical, psychological, or behavioral, including the following:
Physical Symptoms of Work Stress
Physical symptoms of work stress may include:
- Muscle tension
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulties falling asleep
- Gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea
Psychological Symptoms of Work Stress
Psychological symptoms of work stress may include:
- Feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle things
- Cognitive issues, such as having trouble focusing or making decisions
Behavioral Symptoms of Work Stress
Behavioral symptoms of work stress may include:
- Increase in absences or sick days
- Lack of initiative and creativity
- Decline in work performance
- Interpersonal relationship issues
- Changes in mood and irritation
- Reduced patience and frustration tolerance
How Does Work Stress Impact Mental Health?
When you leave for the day and get home, your work stress doesn’t immediately disappear.
Persistent stress can have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. For example, a stressful workplace can aggravate or bring on conditions like:
- High blood pressure
- Compromised immune system
- Difficulty concentrating
Additionally, it might aggravate existing medical issues like depression, obesity, and heart disease. The problem is made worse by the fact that people who feel severe stress frequently try to cope by overeating, consuming unhealthy foods, smoking, or substance abuse.6
Furthermore, according to a study by Dr. BongKyoo Choi at the University of California Irvine, those who reported work related stress or extended work hours had approximately four times the likelihood of experiencing moderate to severe suicidal ideation. Therefore, it is possible to classify work stress and long hours as occupational risk factors for suicidal thoughts in working populations.7
Work Stress Treatments and Therapy
Finding a therapist who can assist you in understanding your work-related stress and learning effective coping mechanisms can be very beneficial. You might discuss uncomfortable topics or divulge information you have never disclosed to anyone else. Therefore, you want to collaborate with someone with whom you can be honest and transparent while feelings at ease.8
A therapist’s profile can provide you with some basic details. However, you won’t know the most critical aspect—the chemistry between you—unless you chat with the therapist on the phone or in person.
In addition, you’ll probably find a series of letters following licensed mental health professionals’ names when seeking work stress counseling services. These letters signify their degree, and the prerequisites for each degree are different.
For instance, in Tennessee, a clinician with LCSW after their name must have at least 3,000 hours of clinical practice and a master’s degree in social work. This includes at least 100 hours of direct supervision, 60 of which must be one-on-one.9 In addition, a psychologist (usually with a Ph.D. or PsyD) has training in various forms of psychotherapy and psychological assessments. At the same time, a master’s degree in counseling is required, as well as state-mandated training and certification, for certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).
In addition, while most therapists see a range of clients for a variety of reasons, many of them have areas of expertise. Therefore, you’ll probably want to find one who specializes in work related therapy and/or the mental health problems impacted by your work stress. For example, if you’re experiencing high levels of anxiety due to work related stress, you’ll want to find a therapist who has extensively worked with patients with anxiety.
With Athena Care’s multiple locations, finding therapy offices in Tennessee and a qualified therapist is simple. In-network with most major insurance plans, Athena Care’s expert care coordinators are here to help Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It’s important to ask lots of questions and to keep the following factors in mind when seeking therapy for work stress in Tennessee:
- Education, training, license, and years of experience
- Does the therapist have a Ph.D., Psy.D., or a master’s degree?
- What is their degree? Psychiatric nursing, social work, etc.?
- What is their focus as far as mental health conditions?
- How long have they been practicing?
- Specialties and services offered
- Do they specialize in other forms of therapy, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
- Treatment methods and philosophies
- Which therapy techniques do they favor?
- Do they favor a psychodynamic approach to therapy?
- Which insurance companies do they work with, as well as their office hours, prices, and session length?
Working with a therapist has numerous benefits, including enabling you to:10
- Create strategies to control your body’s response to stress so you are not at the mercy of your stressors
- Become more resilient
- Reduce stress-related symptoms and adopt healthy lifestyle modifications
- Gain new knowledge and develop a fresh relationship with your triggers
- Gain more power over your life
- Find a sense of meaning and purpose.
- Determine your negative thought patterns that both cause and contribute to stress and work to change them
Several medications can reduce the effects of stress. However, each has a different dosage, set of risks, and considerations. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with your doctor to choose the best treatment plan.11
The most widely used medications to treat stress-related symptoms include beta-blockers, tranquilizers, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Work Related Therapy Types
Therapy can help people control their stress and cope with it productively. Specific therapeutic methods are especially beneficial for dealing with and managing stress. Below are a few types of therapy for work stress:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT enables people to move from believing they have little control over their circumstances to feeling empowered to alter external pressures or develop new coping mechanisms and ways to adapt to them.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): To promote psychological flexibility, ACT employs acceptance, mindfulness, commitment, and behavior-change tactics.
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): IPT is short, attachment-focused psychotherapy focusing on symptomatic healing and resolving interpersonal issues.
- Psychodynamic Therapy: The psychological causes of emotional pain are the main emphasis of psychodynamic therapy. Its defining characteristics include self-reflection, self-examination, and the utilization of the therapeutic relationship as a window into the patient’s dysfunctional relationship patterns.
- Online Therapy: Many therapy approaches are now offered online, making therapy more accessible and affordable than ever.
Work Stress Therapy Treatment Costs & Insurance Coverage
The following are average costs, though they may vary by location and other factors and may not reflect the actual cost of what you’ll pay for work related therapy treatment in Tennessee.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions, for example, are typically 45+ minutes long and cost between $100 and $200 per session.12 Keep in mind that CBT is generally thought of as a short-term therapy, with sessions ranging from 5 to 20.
In addition, the typical cost of psychotherapy in the United States ranges from $100 to $200 a session, dependent upon the location and the length of the session. You’ll most likely have a copay ranging from a few dollars to $50 or more a session with health insurance.
Filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the best method to determine the specifics of your therapy insurance coverage. In addition, you’ll find a list of practitioners organized by city, their background, and their specialties here. After completing the form, a care coordinator will review your policy and thoroughly explain your options. Rest assured, all submitted or discussed information remains private.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). An EAP is a work-based intervention program created to help employees deal with personal issues that might negatively influence their work performance.
EAPs have traditionally helped employees with problems like alcoholism or substance abuse, but today the majority offer assistance with a wide range of problems, including those related to wellness, child or elder care, relationships, money or legal issues, financial difficulties, and traumatic events. Employees receive these benefits free of charge.
EAP services are mostly provided over the phone, through video-based counseling, online chat, email correspondence, or in person.13
Work Stress Therapy Treatment Success & Outlook
It’s best to deal with your stress before it becomes a more difficult-to-treat condition. You can lower your risk of developing stress-related diseases and disorders by learning to manage acute and chronic stress episodes. Professional therapy for work stress and lifestyle changes can benefit the long run.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) effectively treats anxiety and depression related to work stress.14
- According to the findings of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) efficacy trial, from preintervention through postintervention and follow-up, the ACT group’s wellbeing increased in comparison to the control group.15
- Studies examining guided self-help over the Internet to promote positive mental health and psychological flexibility discovered that participants significantly improved their wellbeing throughout therapy.16
- Increasing psychological flexibility has been demonstrated beneficial in reducing stress.17
- It was feasible and well-accepted to treat depression associated with work stress using a work-focused Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) program. It turned out to be more beneficial than treatment as usual regarding reducing depression and concerns related to workplace stress. However, more studies are needed.18
Other Options & Resources for Coping With Work Stress
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage stress:
- Keep a record of your stressors: For a week or two, keep a journal to record the situations that stress you out the most and how you handle them. Record your thoughts, feelings, and information, including any people and events involved, the surroundings, and your response. Making notes will help you see trends between your stressors and your reactions.
- Develop healthy reactions: When you feel the tension rising, try your best to make healthy choices rather than attempting to combat it with fast food or alcohol. For instance, physical activity is a fantastic stress reliever.
- Establish boundaries: It’s normal to feel under pressure to be accessible all the time in today’s digital age. Set up some boundaries between your job and personal life. That could entail setting a rule against checking email while at home in the evening or refraining from taking calls while having dinner.
- Take time to rest: We need time to rest and refuel to offset the negative effects of extended stress and burnout and get back to our pre-stress level of functioning. Therefore, you must take breaks during which you don’t do work-related activities or think about your job to recharge. Occasionally unplugging must be done in a way that matches your preferences and demands.
- Learn to unwind: Relaxation methods include mindfulness, deep breathing techniques, and meditation.
- Speak with your manager: Since productivity at work and employee health have been linked, your manager has the incentive to foster a culture that values employee wellbeing. Have an honest discussion with your supervisor.
- Ask for support: Accepting assistance from dependable friends and family members might help you better manage stress. Additionally, your employer might offer stress management tools through an employee support program, such as online resources, accessible counseling, and, if necessary, referrals to mental health professionals.
- Supplemental Treatments: Try acupuncture, herbal therapies, and other alternative therapies in addition to work stress counseling. However, always consult with your doctor beforehand.
In addition to the above, here are a few professional organizations and support groups that can help with work related stress and related issues:
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
- Mental Health America: Find an in-person or online support group
- Tennessee’s Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress for first responders, healthcare workers, and educators
- Disaster Distress Helpline – CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish)
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- STRESS…At Work (99-101) | NIOSH/CDC. www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/default.html. Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.
- “Stress in America.” American Psychological Association (APA.org), May 2020, www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress.
- Boyd, Danielle. “Workplace Stress.” The American Institute of Stress, 22 Sept. 2022, www.stress.org/workplace-stress.
- Ellingrud, Kweilin, et al. “Diverse Employees Are Struggling the Most During COVID-19—here’s How Companies Can Respond.” McKinsey & Company, 17 Nov. 2020, www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diverse-employees-are-struggling-the-most-during-covid-19-heres-how-companies-can-respond.
- “Work-related Stress.” Better Health Channel, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/work-related-stress. Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.
- “Coping With Stress at Work.” American Psychological Association (APA.org), July 2014, www.apa.org/topics/healthy-workplaces/work-stress.
- Choi, BongKyoo. “Job Strain, Long Work Hours, and Suicidal Ideation in US Workers: A Longitudinal Study.” International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, vol. 91, no. 7, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, June 2018, pp. 865–75. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-018-1330-7.
- Morin, Amy LCSW. “How to Find a Therapist.” Verywell Mind, 16 May 2022, www.verywellmind.com/how-to-choose-the-right-therapist-for-you-4842306.
- Writers, Staff. “Social Work Licensure in Tennessee | Find Accredited Programs.” SocialWorkLicensure.Org, 1 July 2019, socialworklicensure.org/state/social-work-licensure-tennessee.
- “Stress Management.” Mayo Clinic, 8 Apr. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/basics/stress-basics/hlv-20049495.
- Williams, Flynn. “Stress: Symptoms and Types of Medications.” MedicalNewsToday. 30 Aug. 2022, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/best-medication-for-stress.
- Lauretta, Ashley. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” edited by Alena Hall, Forbes Health, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/how-much-does-therapy-cost/
- “What Is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?” SHRM, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-qa/pages/whatisaneap.aspx. Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.
- “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).” Better Health Channel, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cognitive-behaviour-therapy. Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.
- Fledderus, Martine et al. “Mental health promotion as a new goal in public mental health care: a randomized controlled trial of an intervention enhancing psychological flexibility.” American journal of public health vol. 100,12 (2010): 2372. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.196196
- Bohlmeijer, Ernst T et al. “Flourishing in people with depressive symptomatology increases with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Post-hoc analyses of a randomized controlled trial.” Behaviour research and therapy vol. 65 (2015): 101-6. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2014.12.014
- Brinkborg, Hillevi et al. “Acceptance and commitment therapy for the treatment of stress among social workers: a randomized controlled trial.” Behaviour research and therapy vol. 49,6-7 (2011): 389-98. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2011.03.009
- Schramm, Elisabeth, et al. “Interpersonal Psychotherapy Vs. Treatment as Usual for Major Depression Related to Work Stress: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Study.” Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 11, Frontiers Media SA, Mar. 2020, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00193.
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.