How and When to Disclose Generalized Anxiety Disorder to Your Employer

Anxious man leaning against a wall and talking to colleague
J.A. Bracchi/Stone/Getty Images

Work is an important part of daily life for most people in the world. Work can provide meaning, importance, and the opportunity to have a desirable standard of living. However, experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can make productive work extremely difficult. Being successful and satisfied in your career is a key reason to manage the disorder, and disclosing GAD to your employer can be a tricky, yet important decision to make.

The following is a guide on how to navigate that decision. For more information on career decision making and GAD read this.

How to Decide When to Disclose Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Making the decision to talk to your employer about GAD can be quite stressful and anxiety provoking. The first step in making this decision is figuring out why you would do it.

Taking a realistic look at how well you are functioning, how much the disorder is affecting your productivity and completion of job responsibilities, and what you would hope to gain by telling someone are key factors to consider.

If the disorder is having a significant effect on your functioning at work and you are seeking some understanding, accommodations, or assistance, then it may be more appropriate to disclose that if it is only marginally affecting you.

Research Employer Policies

Next, become very familiar with company policies and accommodations for employees with psychiatric diagnoses. Most workplaces have some policies in place for medical conditions and other life circumstances that may affect employees, so doing your homework first can make it easier to navigate this process.

Furthermore, you should gauge how much the disclosure would affect your standing with your company. If you are in a job where you feel like you may be treated unfairly after disclosure, then weigh this into the decision.

Who to Tell at Work

Finally, decide who to would talk with. Generally, the two best resources for employees with any type of psychological issue are a disability officer, or someone representing your employee assistance program.

If neither of these exists then consider working with your treatment provider to determine the best person to talk with.

For more information on this decision, visit Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Was this page helpful?