How and When to Disclose Generalized Anxiety Disorder to Your Employer

Anxious man leaning against a wall and talking to colleague
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Going to work is part of daily life for most people in the world. A job 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, but choosing to disclose your GAD diagnosis to your boss or coworkers can be tricky. Here's what you need to know to navigate that decision.

Deciding When to Disclose

Making the decision to talk to your employer about GAD can be quite stressful and anxiety provoking. The first step is figuring out why to disclose—and when.

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 all key factors to consider.

If it's affecting your work, you may decide to disclose a GAD diagnosis to your employer when asking about accommodations or assistance.

Research Employer Policies

Next, become 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).

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