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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Noisy work environment leading to anxiety or depression?


 cdl3 - Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:31 am

I am constantly exposed to a noisy work environment. I work 16 hours per day as a live-in caregiver, 12 days straight, with every other weekend off (when I say "constantly exposed", I really mean it). The noise mostly consists of very loud vocalizations. Every time I hear these loud vocalizations (I estimate it being every 3-5 minutes throughout my 16 hour shift), I can feel my body tense with each vocalization. Or cringe, if that's what you want to call it. I can listen to the laughter, and happy vocalizations (no matter how loud), but the negative, demanding vocalizations (which are mostly behavioral) can really get the best of me to where I feel absolutely helpless. I have noticed my anxiety over the years has increased significantly since working at this place. When I am in a room full of people and it is TOO quiet, I feel very uncomfortable (as if "quiet" isn't normal, or maybe something I am not used to anymore). I can't concentrate on many tasks and I've lost a lot of motivation for my job and other things. I've noticed I have a very hard time sleeping at night, and rest is something I absolutely need for my 16 hour shifts. My weight has been up and down, and I am isolating myself from my friends... all I want is to be alone on my weekends off! My moods can change from day to day, a lot of times I am tired, but even when I am tired, I can also be restless. Can this noisy environment be contributing to changes in my mental health? What kind of changes can occur/might be occuring to me right now? I have spoken to my boss about these changes and we are currently working on a way to stabilize my work environment/manage this person's behaviors with medication. A neurologist has already suggested the use of an anti-psychotic for this person... you can imagine it is very extreme! Would it be healthy to stay in this environment if there is progress in this person's behavior, or do you think it would be best if I find another home to work at? I really care about this person and really do not want to leave them. Thank you very much for your all your input/advice.
 Tim W Latsko - Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:30 pm

cdl3,
It sounds like you have reached 'burnout'; I am not sure that there is anyone, who if exposed to what you described could not learn to enjoy a 2-3 month leave of abscence, if financially possible, to regain their identity.

With that said, it appears that you are sufferring from depression and acute anxiety brought on by your work environemnt and the load noises. The good news is that with reasonable accomadations, which it sounds like your employer is willing make, you will be able to function fully in your position. However, I question the rationale of further medicating the person you are caring for as a reasonable accomodation.

Some other options for accomodations are a reduction in work hours, assistance in the work place to respond to the noises..etc....

Given the description of you symptoms I recommend that you meet with a psychiatrist, give your post to him, I was able to really gain a good understanding of your stressors.

If that is not what you are looking for right now, meet with a psychologist or therapist to explore this depression/work related stress. As well, you might want to consider taking a few days off...

To answer your questions, yes that noisy environment can be contributing to changes in your mental health. It sounds like you have already detailed the changes that are occuring to you.

As for whether or not you should keep your job may I suggest that you meet with a therapist to explore this option and other options in more detail before making such a signifcant decesion. You may even want to consult with a mentor in your field or someone you may know who has been in that field for sometime with experience with the situation you described.

A consultation with a psychiatrist to discuss what you are thinking and feeling may just be what is needed. What you have described suggests that you are suffering from depression and treatment is available that will and can help you with what you are feeling and thinking. It okay to ask for help, we are all entitled to have problems.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Tim

Good luck and talk to few people in yoour field before you quit. In sum, I do believe that a consultation with mental specialist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist will help.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Tim
 cdl3 - Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:39 am

Thank you so very much!

Before we take any drastic steps (incorporating an anti-psychotic into this person's care), we are creating a written behavioral management program to try over a period of time. It's going to require a lot of cooperation, and consistent team effort. I want it to be successful, but if it is unsuccessful, then we will probably try an anti-depressant, and then so on and so forth.

I know my stress doesn't just exist with the vocalizations, I really do agree that I am reaching a burnout point. I think my stress might even be exaggerating what I am hearing in my work environment. I have been working at this home for almost four years, and these vocalizations have not bothered me up until recently. I really do just need some "me" time, and I think I need to learn how to prevent reaching burnout, if I'm to remain at this home.

I've been told that I delve too deeply into my work, and I need to learn how to create some balance between my work life, and my personal life. I really don't know how to go about or start doing that, because I only get every other weekend off and I've always put others before me. I will definitely find someone to talk to, and maybe find some assistance/ideas for creating the balance that I need.

If I can't make a turnaround after speaking to a professional and making a few adjustments... I think that will definitely be my cue to move on. Not just for myself, but for the person and people I am caring for. I will give some updates!

THANK YOU AGAIN

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