Research examining effects of shift work found that both excessive sleepiness and insomnia associated with shift work seriously impacted the lives of shift workers.
The research was presented Tuesday, May 17, at the American Psychiatric Association’s 164th Annual Meeting which runs Saturday, May 14, to Wednesday, May 18, 2010 in Honolulu.
The studies found shift workers do not always recognize their own symptoms of shift work disorder; and healthcare professionals believe that shift work disorder is missed two-thirds of the time.
One study used a structured online survey of 260 shift workers and 673 healthcare professionals to examine the impact of excessive sleepiness associated with shift work and diagnosis of shift work disorder.
Shift work negatively impacted respondents’ lives by affecting energy level (72 percent of respondents), emotional health (52 percent), and physical health (51 percent). As a result of their excessive sleepiness, 69 percent had made mistakes at work; 43 percent said their ability to care for dependents had been compromised; and 10 percent had had at least one work-related accident. Half of respondents wanted to change their jobs or work hours and did not feel it was possible to do so.
A second study looked at how shift work disorder was diagnosed from the perspective of healthcare professionals and shift workers. When excessive sleepiness was discussed with health professionals, shift workers initiated the conversation 82 percent of the time, while healthcare professionals initiated it 13 percent. Healthcare professionals believed that 67 percent of shift work disorder is never detected by physicians and that half is undiagnosed because it is often masked by other conditions, including depression.
Both studies were sponsored by and conducted in collaboration with Cephalon, Inc., Frazer, Penn.
The new research posters (#NR10-49 and NR10-39) were scheduled Tuesday, May 17, at the Hawaii Convention Center.